HomeCultureFela Kuti’s Legacy to Live On Through New Projects and Partnerships

Fela Kuti’s Legacy to Live On Through New Projects and Partnerships

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Fela Kuti, the Nigerian musician and activist who pioneered the Afrobeat genre, is set to have his life and work celebrated in various ways by a new management deal. WME Legends, a division of the global talent agency WME, has signed the estate of Fela Kuti for management worldwide. The deal aims to grow Kuti’s legacy for a new generation of fans and artists influenced by his music and message.

WME Legends will manage Kuti’s name, image, likeness, life, IP, music, and publishing rights across WME and parent company Endeavor’s departments and companies worldwide. The team will also work on projects such as a definitive scripted biopic, an expansion of the Fela! Stage musical franchise, previously unreleased masters and unpublished songs, licensing and merchandising, commercials and endorsements, and more.

The biopic will be the first to be sanctioned by the Kuti estate, which was represented by Olajide Oyewole, a member of DLA Piper Africa, during the negotiation. Previous attempts to make a film about Kuti’s life, such as one by 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen with actor Chiwetel Ejiofor in the lead role, did not have the estate’s involvement or approval.

Fela Kuti was born in 1938 and died in 1997 from complications related to AIDS. He was a musician, bandleader, composer, political activist, and Pan-Africanist who created Afrobeat, a fusion of funk, jazz, fuji, and highlife music. He was known for his outspoken criticism of the Nigerian government and military dictatorship, as well as his advocacy for human rights and social justice. He was arrested and beaten several times for his activism and music.

Kuti’s music has been widely sampled and referenced by artists such as Beyoncé & Jay-Z, Burna Boy, Missy Elliott, J. Cole, Alicia Keys, and Mos Def. His influence can also be seen in the rise of Afrobeats, a contemporary genre that incorporates elements of Afrobeat with pop, hip-hop, and dancehall. Afrobeats has become one of the most popular genres in Africa and beyond, with artists like Wizkid, Davido, Rema, and Tiwa Savage gaining global recognition.

WME Legends is a division of WME that focuses on estate and legacy brand management. It also represents the estates of The Notorious B.I.G., Andy Kaufman, Eartha Kitt, Waylon Jennings, Peter Tosh, and Charlie Sifford, as well as Ram Dass’ Love Serve Remember Foundation and the iconic New York punk/new wave club CBGB.

WME Legends co-head Leslie Schilling said in a statement: “WME Legends is honored to represent the estate of Fela Kuti. Fela was a visionary artist and activist whose music inspires and resonates with people worldwide. We are committed to working with the Kuti estate to preserve and celebrate his legacy and to introduce his music and message to a new generation.”

Fela Kuti’s legacy is expected to live on through these new projects and partnerships honoring his musical genius and social impact.

Source: Business Day NG

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