Fela ignored in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction


Fela Anikulapo Kuti

Fela Anikulapo Kuti
Fela Anikulapo Kuti

By Taiwo Okanlawon

Late Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti did not make it to the list of the 2021 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that was announced on Wednesday.

Fela’s name was missing in the list despite coming second in the fan vote category after Tina Turner, an American singer, widely referred to as the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll”.

The Afrobeat originator was nominated alongside 15 other artistes for possible induction into the coveted institution.

Inductees in the performers’ category include Jay-Z, Tina Turner, Carole King, The Go-Go’s, Foo Fighters and Todd Rundgren, and LL Cool J.

Others inductees in the special categories include Clarence Ahmet (Ahmet Ertegum Awardee), Karftwerk, Charley Patton, Gil Scot-Herron (Early Influence), Billy Preston, and Randy Rhoads (Musical Excellence).

The induction ceremony is billed for October 30 in Cleveland, Ohio.

The organisers, however, explained in a statement on their website, that “the top five artists, as selected by the public, will comprise a ‘fans’ ballot’ that will be tallied along with the other ballots to select the 2021 Inductees.”

“Nominee ballots are sent to an international voting body of more than 1,000 artists, historians, and members of the music industry.

“Factors such as an artist’s musical influence on other artists, length and depth of career and the body of work, innovation and superiority in style and technique are taken into consideration,” the explainer said.

This means that making the top five in the fan vote category does not automatically qualify a nominee for induction.

Reacting to the development, Femi Kuti, the late singer’s son, faulted the lack of adequate enlightenment on the part of the organisers on how inductees are selected.

“Apparently there’s another vote only members can take part in, and that’s what counts. So they kind of wasted our precious time, the positive side #Fela was trending and many who never heard of him got to hear his music and his story,” he wrote on Twitter.

The Notorious B.I.G; and Whitney Houston, US gospel singer, were among those inducted in 2020.

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