Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-10-16
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Femi Kuti talks music, family and gays in Nigeria
NUNN ON ONE Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Nigerian Femi Kuti is the eldest son of famed Afrobeat innovator Fela Kuti.

He joined Fela's band before creating his own group named Positive Force. He went on to be nominated for three Grammys as well as tour consistently ever since. His father, Fela, died of AIDS complications in the late '90s but has since been immortalized on Broadway with the musical Fela!

We tracked Kuti down all the way to Nigeria to find out the state of the world there and chat about his upcoming tour date in Chicago.

Windy City Media Group: Hello, Femi. Where in the world are you today?

Femi Kuti: I'm in Lagos, Nigeria.

WCT: When does the tour begin?

Femi Kuti: In 2013, I will constantly be on tour.

WCT: How long have you been performing?

Femi Kuti: Thirteen years plus…

WCT: Did you always feel a lot of pressure to perform, having such a legendary father?

Femi Kuti: Yes, since I was about 6 years old.

WCT: Even your son now plays saxophone.

Femi Kuti: Yes; right now he is in England studying the classical piano.

WCT: Does he go out on tour with you?

Femi Kuti: He did for years but he's in college now. I think it is more important for him to finish his studies.

WCT: Does he want to be a performer?

Femi Kuti: I'm not sure. He might be a producer. That's why it's so important for him to go now and decide what he wants to do. It's his call. I'm not going to be telling him what to do.

WCT: When your band Positive Force plays live, is it very improvisational?

Femi Kuti: It depends on the venue. We have a set list and know what we want to do but we can change it for the audience. We might decide to change a few tunes on the night of the show. We might get bored along the way and say we have to do it differently that night. What we are doing is taking selections from my new album coming out and previous albums.

WCT: When is the new album coming out?

Femi Kuti: Hopefully by the end of March, but definitely by April...

WCT: I heard it will be more Afrobeat-centered.

Femi Kuti: Yes, it will. It sounds great so far!

WCT: What will it be called?

Femi Kuti: No Place for My Dream.

WCT: Where did the title originate?

Femi Kuti: It came from me. It is my story on setting out to achieve freedom and justice. People are discouraging it, saying it is impossible and just a dream. I keep trying and I am determined. They say for me to wake up from my dream and this is reality; corruption will never end and your life will always be like this. I raise my voice but they say, "There is no place for my dream."

WCT: Speaking of oppression, how are gay people treated in Nigeria that you have noticed recently?

Femi Kuti: There are gay people here but it is not an open fact. I think there is a law against it but there are many gay people here. Nobody really talks about it.

WCT: So is gay society very underground?

Femi Kuti: I wouldn't say underground, but gay people don't flaunt it here. Everybody may know when there is a gay or lesbian person around, but it is not their business. The problem was that they wanted an open marriage but it is very conservative and religious here. Religious people are very adamant against it. Many of us have gay friends and people like me don't care. There are many fanatics that do and consider it taboo. They have the power sometimes.

WCT: Do you think the opinion of Nigeria has changed on the subject of AIDS?

Femi Kuti: I believe people are more enlightened about it now. There used to be a kind of stigma about it. It is not like in my father's time when nobody wanted to talk about it. There was a campaign that I was a big part of in 2000 for about four years. It has died down a bit. There is a lot of awareness about it now.

WCT: What did you think of the musical Fela?

Femi Kuti: I thought it was fantastic. I was very impressed.

WCT: It recently played in Chicago and is coming back for another run.

Femi Kuti: I love Chicago. I've always had a great time there. I've been there about nine times.

WCT: How many people are you bringing with you on the tour?

Femi Kuti: We are not bringing the whole band this time because one of the dancers left and to get a new visa was impossible. It takes about six months. So we will be 12 this time, one dancer short.

WCT: We will still make it a party. Looking forward to seeing the experience live.

Femi Kuti: Yes, by all means. I will see you there.

Fela! returns to Chicago at the Arie Crown Theater, 2301 S. Lake Shore Dr., Feb. 19-23. Visit .

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Transparent,' Tyler Perry, 'Drag Race,' singer Halsey 2019-10-15 - The soundtrack to Amazon Prime Video's The Transparent Musicale Finale—the movie musical fantasia of Jill Soloway's series Transparent—is available for streaming and digital ...

Gay News

Mixtape coincides with Warhol exhibit 2019-10-08 - As the Warhol exhibit comes to the Art Institute of Chicago this October, DJ Heaven Malone is releasing a mixtape, Factory Girls, honoring ...

Gay News

Oct. 21 benefit for homeless at Metro 2019-10-05 - More than 40 Chicago punk, prog, noise, rock and surf musicians—including current and former members of PiL, Naked Raygun and Local H—will perform ...

Gay News

'Activists and Icons' to end Oct. 27 2019-10-05 - "Activists and Icons: The Photographs of Steve Schapiro," an exhibit at Skokie's Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, will close Sunday, Oct. 27. ...

Gay News

Simply Sensational Benefit to salute Music Director Robert Ollis Nov. 4 2019-10-02 - Pride Films and Plays' annual fall benefit, SIMPLY SENSATIONAL, celebrates theater artists who have had a tremendous impact on all they work with. ...

Gay News

Chicago's queer hip-hop scene: Visibility, evolution and culture 2019-10-02 - Chicago has long been known as a mecca for hip-hop culture. Within recent years, however, there's been a rise in queer and gender ...

Gay News

Don't lose the magic: Checking out the Chicago Magic Lounge 2019-10-01 - When Joey Cranford's wife jokingly bought him a magic kit as a Christmas present, she had no idea what she had unleashed. ...

Gay News

Jonathan Van Ness discusses memoir at Music Box 2019-10-01 - According to Jonathan Van Ness of the Netflix series Queer Eye, "Writing a book is kind of like putting your soul into a ...

Gay News

Mark Farris at Drew's Oct. 4-5 2019-10-01 - Vocalist/musician Mark Farris—who has performed in piano bars and cabaret lounges throughout the world—will return to Chicago cabaret at Drew's On Halsted, 3201 ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Trans actor, 'Judy,' 'Concert for America,' Dolly Parton 2019-10-01 - Trans actor Brian Michael Smith was one of three casting announcements made ahead of Fox's 9-1-1 spinoff, Lone Star, which debuts in January, ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.