Mrs Bolanle Austen-Peters, the founder and operator of Terra Kulture Arena on Sunday eulogized the virtues of the late Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and his wives who used his musical platform to agitate for social change and human rights during his life time.
Austen-Peters said this at the official launch of Fela and his Kalakuta Queens, a stage show held at the Terra Kulture Theatre Arena, Lagos.
She described the freedom fighter, Fela as an enigmatic artiste who used his musical band including his wives to challenge the government of his day and people to explore development through social and economic activities that were rooted in African values.
Austen-Peters said that the musical play chronicled Fela’s birth, rebirth, activism and his marriage to his 27 queens.
She added that the women were a source of strength and inspirational support to Fela even in the face of constant brutalisation, intimidation and ridicule from the society.
She said that the performances left the audience blown away, yarning for more.
According to her, the live of Fela and the Kalakuta Queens has never been told to depict the historical lives, fashion and dance of Fela’s women.
“Fela’s women are fearless, courageous, loyal, each stunningly beautiful in their own way. They were his shelter and queens, ” she said.
She added that “When the spirit of truth comes, He will show you things to come” This was the case of Fela Anikulapo Kuti”.
Austen-Peters said that Fela did not only use music as a righteous and powerful weapon against corruption and oppression.
“He also became an artistic prophet whose music is very much relevant today as most of the things he said in his songs are prevalent till date.
“Fela was popularised by not only his deep political songs but also the women in his life.
” These women play a significant role in making him and his music a matter of public interest, ” she said.
The Terra Kulture boss said that the women collaborated with Fela to fight against political injustice and social ills matched with their exotic costumes and makeup.
“This made a profound impact on the society and culture that can still be felt today.
” Sadly, these women simply were not recognised by the society any more, ” she said.
Mrs Olaide Babayale, one of Fela’s wives and musical band member said that she gave the story to the producer of the movie, Bolanle Austen-Peters.
She said that during the stage performances her mind flashed back to Fela existence, as if he were still alive.
”All Fela said in his music is still happening now.
“They are lots of people suffering on the road, poverty hitting everybody hard.
” The government should listen to Fela’s music and learn from it to rearrange the present and the future of this country, ” she said.
Mr Duro Ikujenyo, one of the pianists for the musical icon said that the stage show brought back the memories of Fela.
“I am happy today because the late icon is still recognised and celebrated everywhere in the world, ” he said.