SEPTEMBER 24, 2011, was a day lit with fun, music and undiluted entertainment, as Femi Anikulapo Kuti and Seun Anikulapo Kuti, children of late Fela Anikulapo Kuti, icon of Afrobeat, were crowned ‘Afrobeat Legend of the Year’, and ‘Afrobeat Artiste of the Year’ by Nigeria Standard Newspaper.com, foremost Nigeria’s online news portal at New Afrikan Shrine in acknowledgement of their contribution to Afrobeat genre of music.
||Femi, Seun Anikulapo Kuti wins Afrobeat awards
…Femi’s exclusive live phone call from Poland revealed
Says: ‘I bless Olodunmare for this award…I’m very happy’
• Yeni Anikulapo Kuti says : ‘We’re happy with this great honour’
• Seun confesses: ‘I dedicate this award to Fehintola (my Mother) & Fela’
• Fans hail awards, danced till day brake
BY GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/Editor-in-Chief
Arrival in New Afrikan Shrine
By 4pm, the crew of Nigeria Standard Newspaper.com led by the Chairman, Award Presentation Committee, Tee Mac Omatshola Iseli, MFR, an award-winning classic musician was accompanied by the Publisher/Editor, Nigeria Standard Newspaper.com, top Directors/Editors of our online news portal who flew in from Gambia, Liberia and South Africa to witness the making of history. Also, on hand were the likes of Ayo Rosiji, Francis Goldman, top reggae musician, Ara; a leading songstress/female talking drummer in Nigeria, Innocent Kokobili, Marketing Manager of Union Diagnostic & Clinical Services Plc and other guests. Our host, Femi Anikulapo Kuti, who was unavoidably absent due to an urgent musical concert he had to honour with the Positive Force band kept calling via speaker phone to identify with us far away from Poland.
Our entourage was received warmly by Yeni Anikulapo Kuti, eldest daughter of ‘Abami Eda’, in company of the Felabration Team. We were treated to great hospitality in a serene office of Femi, up-backstage, while the horde of press men around clicked away their cameras.
Media Team around
The media team around had the presence of Correspondents of AFP, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Voice of America (VOA); while Sound City, Nigeria Television Authourity (NTA Network Service crew), Africa Independent Television (AIT team), YES! Magazine crew, National Mirror Editor, Entertainment (Ngozi Emeliobi), Casmir Igbokwe (Editor, Sunday Punch newspapers); all identified with the historic awards.
In his opening speech, the serial award winning Editor-in-Chief said the Board of Editors of Nigeria Standard Newspaper.com unanimously agreed to crown Femi, the reigning King of Afrobeat in view of his unrivalled triumph and electrifying Afrobeat performance over the years. His words: “We deemed it fit to crown Femi ‘Afrobeat Legend of the Year,’ in celebration of his unrivalled feat in Afrobeat and consistency in popularizing African genre of music to coincide with our one year anniversary as a leading online newspaper.” In the same vein, Tee Mac explained that “I have always known Femi for a long time as a consistent musician, a performer and complete entertainer who passionately love Afrobeat. He is an apostle of Afrobeat and I can say authoritatively that he is a legend. On behalf of the Editorial Board and Management of Nigeria Standard Newspaper.com, I hereby crown you the ‘Afrobeat Legend in Nigeria 2011.” The office erupted in loud applause.
In Yeni’s reaction, the obviously elated first daughter of Fela said “I am so happy that at last, an award of this kind is being presented to Femi for all his efforts in Afrobeat. This is a great honour well deserved by him. We are happy and grateful to the organizers, Nigeria Standard Newspaper.com for finding it worthy in their wisdom to recognize a great artiste who is worthy of this honour.”
For Rosiji, a journalist and foremost author on Fela’s book, he applauded the editors of Nigeria Standard Newspaper.com, when he said “Today is a great day in my life as I am so delighted to see that indeed the management of Nigeria’s foremost news portal have finally crowned Femi, a true Afrobeat Legend that he is truly is. May God bless and forever increase all the editors of this online newspaper for this rare feat, coming at the right time. Of a truth, this is a great award for Femi, and the Anikulapo Kuti’s family.”
Femi’s live phone call from Poland
After the award presentation, Yeni called Femi in the presence of both the foreign and local media on his latest status as the ‘King of Afrobeat in Nigeria’. The conversation on speaker phone had Femi talked to Tee Mac and Otumu to express his appreciation. He said “I am so happy with this award given to me. May Olodunmare (God) bless your media organisation and increase it in bounds. This has shown that truly hardwork pays. I just can’t wait to be in Nigeria with my band to behold this award. Once more, I am very grateful.”
Highpoint of the event
The highpoint of this historic event were the group photographs taken by the dignitaries as a milestone of the honour on Femi as ‘Afrobeat Legend of the Year 2011.’
Seun Anikulapo Kuti award
The ceremony marking the award presentation to Seun Anikulapo Kuti began by 10pm as lots of fan of Egypt’80 rushed in to Afrikan Shrine to witness his historic crowning as ‘Afrobeat Artiste of the Year 2011.’ Security was tight and lots of models and managers of top blue chip firms were around. Also on hand was Tee Mac, Dr. Zimakoy (Chairman, Anti-Piracy in PMAN), other guests and media team that were around during Femi’s award.
At exactly 11:30pm, Tee Mac led other dignitaries to crown Seun ‘Afrobeat Artiste of the Year.’ In his response, Seun said “I dedicate this award to Fehintola (my mother & Fela) because this is a great award for me. I am grateful to my fans for being there for me and Egypt’80 band always. Ararararara!”
Highpoint of Seun’s award
The highpoint of Seun’s award was the electrifying performance of Egypt’80, particularly his choreography and dance-steps like Fela which led to wild ovation by the fans and dignitaries that witnessed the show. He performed live till 5am, non-stop, dishing out evergreen tunes from Fela’s rich repertoire and his own musical works.