100 Beautiful POC – Day 37

Yeni Kuti

[37] Yeni Kuti_3Yeni Kuti, sometimes referred to as YK Power, is a Nigerian-British Afrobeat dancer, singer, and innovator behind the ‘Felabration’ musical celebration conceived to celebrate the contributions and legacy of her father Fela Kuti.

After graduating with a diploma in journalism from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, she worked for a short while as a fashion designer before joining her brother Femi Kuti’s band as a dancer and singer. She currently leads the New Afrika Shrine, an open-air entertainment center in Ikeja, the state capital of Lagos in Nigeria, co-managing the site with her brother Femi.

The New Afrika Shrine is also the host location for the annual week-long Felabration, which Ms. Kuti continues to organize every year since 1998. The festival most prominently features musical performances, but also consists of street parades, symposia on social and topical issues, debates and photo exhibitions. Fela Kuti, whom the festival commemorates, was a legendary Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer, and pioneer of the Afrobeat music genre, as well as a human rights activist, and political maverick.

Throughout the rest of the year Yeni Kuti, Fela Kuti’s eldest daughter, continues to run and manage the New Afrika Shrine, inviting and booking a variety of musicians to perform, including her brothers Femi and Seun who are also musicians, and in the process taking care to maintain the club’s African milieu and cultural initiatives.

With her focus on these artistic and entrepreneurial endeavors, Ms. Kuti has stated in interviews that she’s not interested in marriage, finding more happiness in slightly less conventional relationships. Instead she’s more focused on reviving the Afrobeat musical movement in Nigeria, noting the dearth of bands and musicians who fall within the genre and worrying that the style may soon be appropriated by foreigners.

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