Fela Kuti was born Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti in Abeokuta, Nigeria. He lived from Oct. 15, 1938, to Aug. 2, 1997.
Also known as Fela Anikulapo Kuti or simply Fela, he was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer, pioneer of the Afrobeat music genre, human rights activist and political maverick.
His political consciousness inspired him to change what he called his “slave name” Ransome and adopt the middle name “Anikulapo,” meaning “to have control over death,” in the late 1960s. Continue reading after the slice..
Kuti fell in love with the growing Black Power movement happening in the United States in the 1960s. He was introduced to the Black Panthers while on tour in America in 1969.
He was influenced by the teachings of American human rights activist Malcolm X. Kuti began to understand the effects white oppression and colonialism had on Africa. He also realized the importance of Pan-Africanism, unity of African nations and revolution.
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