Legendary Nigerian Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti has earned a nomination for induction into the 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame over twenty years after his death. The trailblazing singer joins fifteen other nominees including Tina Turner, Jay-Z, Chaka Khan, Mary J. Blige, Foo Fighters and Dionne Warwick.
Following the release of the list on Wednesday, a host of Nigerian celebrities – including Burna Boy – took to social media to call on their fans to vote for the Zombie singer. As of Monday, Fela was leading the official fan vote leaderboard with over 120,000 votes. The ballots will be closed on April 30 and the inductees will be subsequently announced in May, CNN reported.
“This remarkable ballot reflects the diversity and depth of the artistes and music the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame celebrates,” Chairman of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation John Sykes said in a statement. “These nominees have left an indelible impact on the sonic landscape of the world and influenced countless artists that have followed them.”
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Musicians can only become eligible for induction 25 years after they released their first official record.
Known as the pioneer of Afrobeat, Fela enjoyed stunning popularity through his music. He was also a human rights activist and Pan-Africanist who faced many issues with Nigerian politicians and local law enforcement due to the fact that he was confident in speaking his mind either through music or random conversations.
Though no more, Fela left a legacy that has lived on and survived for decades with his songs maintaining their relevance today. Following his nomination, one of his sons, Seun Kuti, shared an Instagram post expressing gratitude to fans who voted for him and urged them to continue casting their ballots.
“On behalf of the Anikulapo-Kuti family, we want to say thanks for the support. One can vote every day so please visit the website to keep the numbers going up,” he shared. “I have to say though, we Africans all over the world have already put Fela in the greatest hall of fame of all time— our hearts. #liberationgeneration.”