It was less than three years ago when heavy weight black celeb power couples Jay-Z and Beyonce and Will and Jada Smith announced their interest in funding the Broadway breakout of FELA! The production shed tons of American light on just who Fela Kuti was, how he influenced African culture and what his music represented.
Myself, I was only re-introduced to this magnificent individual, musician and activist via a close friend who grew up with his music, just as I did with Nina Simone and the Clark Sisters.
Every country has their icon, every country has recognized artists that guide their culture, create a combined effort via their lyrics. In America and around the world we share people like Michael Jackson, Madonna and Beyonce while in Canada they love that Kylie chick and in South America, Shakira is surprisingly still big...nevertheless the type of stardom that these people receive isn't recognized from people from Africa...I mean, we have Akon, but there are large musical movements that go on and end without any reference via the mainstream media.
Fela was an artist that transferred his music from generation to countryside and back.
He commanded stadium-sized crowds and each show seemed to go on and get as wild as everyone things Woodstock was...honestly to compare Woodstock to a Fela concert is like comparing your 6-year old birthday party to the Dallas State Fair.
A friend of mine is in the processes of bringing Fela's music to Detroit via a documentary comparing this African diaspora staple to one of hip hops greatest, Christopher "BIGGIE" Wallace. Check out more information below the pic!
The Shrine, a multimedia and soundtrack infused event celebrating the lives of Fela Kuti and Notorious B.I.G. Sankofa El-Afi Tapfuma, uses the lives of Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Christopher ‘Notorious B.I.G.’ Wallace to evoke the importance of self-dependency.
The Shrine the documentary, which is due out in the first quarter of 2012 and filmed by Gratiot Film’s Ian Harris, will take you through the lives of Kuti and Wallace, and reveal their struggle within a systematic oppressed society, and the empowerment they created for themselves to become wealthy, successful entities in their communities.
A celebratory event for the lives of Kuti and Wallace, will take place at the Jazz Café inside the Music Hall Center for Performing Arts on Dec. 8th 2011, with a 20 minute video presentation of excerpts from the documentary, a dance performance by Wild Spirit Dance Company, and special guest performance by Adeboye Adegbenro ,Leader of "ODU Afrobeat Orchestra" and Lead vocalist and saxophonist for “African Assembly”, who appeared regularly with Fela and the Egypt 80 band throughout the late 80's.
The event is being hosted by Heart Healers and Shameless Plug with sounds by DJ Kofa, Nation and DJ Espy.
Event Start Time: 8:00PM – 12:00AM
Admission: $5 and $7 w/ FELA B.I.G. Mix CD produced by DJ Kofa.
Special performances by: Wild Spirit Dance Company, and special guest performance by Adeboye Adegbenro ,Leader of "ODU Afrobeat Orchestra"
If you would like to find out more about the documentary or the event, or would like to interview Sankofa El-Afi Tapfuma, please contact Sankofa (313-685-5245).
For more information on Heart Healers and Shameless Plug Productions, visit us on Facebook