Shock, Condemnation As Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Shuns Fela Despite Fan Votes

by The Culture Newspaper

The late Afrobeat pioneer, Fela Kuti, has lost out in the race to be inducted into the 2021 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Being the only African on the list, the late musician was nominated alongside international artistes like Tina Turner, The Go-Go’s, Iron Maiden, Foo Fighters, Jay-Z, Dionne Warwick, and Carole King.

This was the first time the late legend had ever been nominated for the induction, but he was edged out of the No 1 spot by Turner at the Fan Vote Final Fans’ ballot.

After three months of voting, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame revealed its 2021 class on Wednesday, inducting Foo Fighters, The Go-Go’s, JAY-Z, Carole King, Todd Rundgren and Tina Turner in the performers’ category.

Fela, despite securing the runner-up spot with 545,000 votes, a clause in the inductees’ selection process however says there is no correlation between fan vote and subsequent inductions.

However, Nigerians have been reacting to the news of his exclusion from the hall of fame induction despite recording a good number of fan votes.

“This will NOT change Fela’s legacy, BUT I’m massively disappointed all the same by his non-appearance among the inductees, having always been aware that it was the 1,000 RRHOF’s members that would finally decide. We always hoped, obviously without foundation, that they would take the public vote into consideration.

“Three months of daily voting with 555,000 votes for nothing! Jay Z, for instance, was rock bottom from day one and remained there until the end.

“I’m inundated with messages of protest and fury from Nigeria, following their assiduous daily voting.

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“Can we not persuade some noted admirers of Fela, perhaps even past or present inductees, to voice their view on a public platform? Working on it!” Fela’s former manager and associate, Rikki Stein lamented on Wednesday through his Facebook page.

Similarly, the proprietor of Freedom Park in Lagos, Theo Lawson, also voiced out his disappointment at the turn of event, describing Fela’s snub as the biggest scam of the Covid era.

“I believe this is the biggest scam of the post- Covid era. After fighting a gallant battle for the top, Fela was not even considered, talk less of the second place he came in the votes. Nigerians and their friends registered on the RnR Hall of Shame page only to waste data and become targets for their cheap merchandising campaigns. They have given no excuse or apology, so are we ‘mugus’? #freefela #rnrhallofshame”

Also, many twitter users expressed displeasure with the organisers for not finding the late Afrobeat legend worthy of induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for 2021 despite his exploits while he was alive and his continuous influence many years after his demise.

Wale Adetona wrote: “This is bullsh-t! With all the massive campaigns and votes for Fela, you still don’t count him worthy to make the list? You must think Nigerians are a joke to you!”

@TheRaroLae tweeted: “Fela Kuti was 2nd place based on fan votes. However, the people who didn’t come close to him were selected to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

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“Despite this there was a clause that essentially meant the fan vote didn’t matter. They never planned on letting Fela win.”

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