Global music mogul and entrepreneur, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, has all but claimed that music legend Fela Kuti is more influential than former American president Barack Obama!
Combs unveiled a list of the most influential black personalities dubbed the Black 100 featuring the biggest names in arts, entertainment, fashion, film, sports, technology, politics, media and the corporate world from USA, Canada, Europe and…… astoundingly, Fela the only truly African representative!
The high profile names mentioned in the list also include entertainment power couple Jay Z and Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Donald Glover, Taraji P. Henson, Jennifer Lopez, Oprah Winfrey and Michele Obama. But apart from Barack Obama, there is no place for Diddy’s former associate and rap legend, Christopher ‘Notorious BIG’ Wallace, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and the late Nelson Mandela.
That makes Fela’s appearance on the list even the more impressive. The Nigerian-born African music legend died of HIV/ AIDS in 1997 but his achievements before, and impact after, death left such a huge impression on the world- and Diddy.
Perhaps it was, and is, the singer’s charisma and poise that changed the ideals of a race that charmed Diddy. Fela is celebrated worldwide for turning music into a weapon to reorient society on love and life. The singer often expressed his ideals on humanitarianism, Pan Africanism and political freedom and at one point almost ascended the presidency of his beloved Nigeria.
His ideals- defined as black power- and borrowed from the Black Panther movement even inspired the creation of Hollywood’s highest grossing superhero movie of the same name some 20 years after his death. He is also credited as the pioneer of Afrobeats, which developed after his demise to become the most successful music genre on the continent.
Also unlucky to miss out is Egyptian Mo Salah, who this year became the first African to mount the FIFA Best podium since Cameroun’s Samuel Eto’o over a decade ago. His absence means Fela Kuti stands alone as the only true African on the list.