Reactions as Afrobeats legend Fela Kuti falls short of Rock Hall of fame list

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Late Nigerian singer and activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti failed to make the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees shortlist for 2021 despite fans voting him ‘aggressively’. The organisers announced Jay-Z, the Foo Fighters, The Go-Go’s, Carole King, Todd Rundgren, and Tina Turner as the final shortlisted candidates.  

They seek to honour musicians who have made their mark in music worldwide and released albums that have lasted over 25 years. Fela and 15 other candidates were announced earlier in 2021 for a spot on the final inductees’ list.

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The original list included Mary J. Blige, The Go-Go’s, Iron Maiden, Jay-Z, Chaka Khan, Carole King, LL Cool J, Kate Bush, Devo, Foo Fighters, New York Dolls, Rage Against The Machine, Todd Rundgren, Tina Turner, and Dionne Warwick.

Fans were urged to vote for their favourites, and Fela, who came second behind Tina Turner, didn’t make the cut.

Many African and Nigerian fans were outraged that their votes were not enough, but the organisers have explained that there are other selection phases. One such phase is an international voting body of more than 1,200 artists, including current living Inductees, historians, and members of the music industry. Other factors are how an artist influenced other artists, the length and the depth of an artists career and the body of work, how innovative it was, and its superiority in style and technique.

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Fela was an influencer both with his music and his acts. He is regarded as an activist who spoke against bad governance in Nigeria. If he had made the final cut, he would have broken the record as the first Nigerian to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Fans were not the only ones unhappy with the turn of events. Fela’s son Femi Anikulapo Kuti also took to social media to voice his displeasure.

The 36th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held in Ohio, USA, on Saturday, 30 October 2021.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a museum that documents the history of rock music and the artists, producers, engineers, and other notable figures who have influenced its development.

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