AFROBEAT king Fela Anikulapo-Kuti has been honoured with a commemorative plaque by the Faculty of Music at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich in southeast London as part of a Black Plaque Project.
By far the most popular Nigerian ever, Fela, who passed away in 1997, was one of the first African musicians to get a degree in music. He spent his entire career fighting for social justice and opposing successive Nigerian governments, which earned him several jail terms and constant attacks.
Yesterday, the plaque in Fela’s memory was unveiled in what was a temporary memorial at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich. This installation is part of the Black Plaque Project, which will see 30 plaques honouring key Black figures around the city of London over the coming months.
Fela Kuti’s son Femi sent a message of thanks, alongside grandson Made Kuti. Like his grandfather, Made Kuti is also an alumni of Trinity Laban college in London, having graduated in 2018.
Dele Sosimi was at the installation, alongside Trinity Laban’s director of music Havilland Willshire, as was Juliet Jackman, the founder and producer of Black Culture 365, alongside Nubian Jak founder Dr Jak Beula.
Mr Sosimi said: “Words fail me. I am buzzing, I am glowing, I am so proud. It’s a lovely thing. I feel like the plaque represents my joy and pride.”
“Fela was a live and let live guy, he had so much love and respect for art. He was a true artist. He always said to me it’s all about holding down the groove, so as his rhythm pianist, I always held the groove.
“Right from day one, I was hooked. I teach Afrobeat here at Trinity Laban, so to see this here, now – hopefully it will encourage more students to participate in Afrobeat and spread the horizon of up and coming musicians.”