Nigerian musical superstar Fela Kuti was honoured with a new blue plaque in Shepherds Bush on Monday (1 November).
The historical marker was unveiled at 12 Stanlake Road where singer and saxophone sensation Fela first lived when he came to London to study music at Trinity College in 1958.
The plaque was unveiled by the Nubian Jak Community Trust alongside representatives from Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
During the ceremony, a welcome was offered by Dr Jak from the Nubian Jak Community Trust, followed by personal tributes from family member Shalewa Anikulapo-Kuti, former manager of the late Afrobeat king Rikki Stein and artist Lemi Ghariokwu who designed album covers for Fela and his band. A musical tribute from Nsimba Bitendi (Foggis) of Taxi Pata Pata Music and Arts was also offered.
H&F Leader Cllr Stephen Cowan said: “Fela was more than just a pioneering musician, more than just an activist or pan-Africanist. He was a visionary whose time had come. And it’s as if his time has come back again with the global impact of Afrobeat.”
H&F Deputy Leader Cllr Sue Fennimore said: “H&F has wonderfully rich and diverse musical heritage. Afrobeat has been a key part of this, so I’m delighted that this plaque marks the importance of the genre and its pioneer, our former resident, Fela Kuti. I’d like to congratulate the Nubian Jak and their partners for this initiative as we continue to work with them and others to celebrate the music which is so important to the Black history of our borough.”
And Cllr Sharon Holder, H&F Cabinet Member for Strategy, said: “Afrobeat has had an impactful and lasting influence on generations growing up in H&F, so I am really pleased that we are now honouring its origins with a plaque to Fela Kuti.”
This new plaque will become an important new feature of H&F’s Black History Music Trail.
Black history in H&F
Fela was just one of many notable Black H&F residents who have contributed to the borough’s rich cultural history.
During October’s Black history celebrations in H&F, we published an educational booklet for local primary schools that documents the many historic figures in H&F that had not received the recognition they deserved. We want to put these ‘hidden figures’ in their rightful place in our borough’s history.
Soon, you’ll start to see their names appearing near the buildings where they lived or worked as part of our new H&F Black History Trail.
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