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n African Journal of Rhetoric - ‘Colo-mentality’ : the radical evolution of Fela’s lyrical rhetoric in the face of oppression

Volume 11 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1998-2054

Abstract

The philosophy behind Afrocentricity is the idea that peoples of African descent and interests must be viewed as actors who retain agency in human history rather than as marginal to the European historical experience, which has been conventionally and uncritically represented as universal. In her Yorùbá Songs of Trinidad, Maureen Warner Lewis shows the extent to which African cultural traditions have played a vital role in maintaining the distinct cultural identity of Africa and Africans in Diaspora. For Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, his political outlook developed a plebeian audience for his music, with the further adoption of Yoruba and pidgin (Africanised or broken English) as the language of his lyrics. Initially, Fela sang songs that were generally apolitical but progressively, he started to sing anti-establishment songs, which very quickly brought him into collision with both imperialist establishments in the West and their local military junta or civilian stooges in power at home in Nigeria. This paper examines the revolutionary and rhetorical essence of the music and songs of the late Afro-beat king, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, chronicling with it, the influences of his rhetoric and musical genre on Africa and Africans in the Diaspora. We argue that the essential Fela can only be understood and appreciated in the context of the complex interface between Euro-American modernity, in general and African and African Diasporic traditions, in particular.

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/content/journal/10520/EJC-1ae2c25996
2019-12-01
2020-09-30

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