Lagos came to a standstill on Tuesday, as Afrobeat king, Femi Anikulapo-Kuti, hosted President Emmanuel Macron of France to an epic show at the Afrika Shrine, Ikeja, Lagos.
In this exclusive interview conducted shortly before the show, the musician opened up on why the French president’s visit has vindicated his dad, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Enjoy it.
You have the French president, Emmanuel Macron visiting Nigeria and Afrika Shrine for the first time, how do you feel?
To the people that have been supporting us all these years, they already know. To myself, I’m happy; for my family, I’m glad; for the (Afrika) Shrine, it’s fantastic; it proves that we are not what many people think.
Is this the first time you are performing for a sitting president?
Yes, it is my first time. Fela never did it, but that doesn’t justify a great artiste. Just because Fela didn’t do it doesn’t mean he wasn’t great. If President Macron comes to the Shrine, it justifies all that my father did and what we have been doing here for 18 years. Whether anybody likes it or not, this is the biggest entertainment spot and cultural shrine in Nigeria. It is globally known, there is nowhere in Nigeria that it (Shrine) is not known, so if you are the president of anywhere, where else would you go to present anything? It must be the Shrine, except you are a hypocrite. So, for him to come here (Afrika Shrine), he must be very progressive like I said.
If you meet President Macron one on one, what are you going to tell him?
I will talk to him about many issues. I will talk to him about the issues of crisis, corruption, bad government in Africa, and France participation in the past and present in encouraging mismanagement in the continent. France must apologize for its role in slavery. I’m sure tonight will just be formal but if I get the opportunity to talk to him one on one, I will tell him that. He is a young, vibrant leader who is progressive. So, if my thoughts about him are true, he must want to sit down and listen to the truth and he must want to support the truth. He personally did not take part in the slave trade and that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t apologise.