Historic Hampton House in partnership with FIU Department of History & African and African Diaspora Studies present the UNITY BOULEVARD FILM SERIES, a new film and discussion series happening every third Thursday at the Historic Hampton House Cultural Center!
Join us for a screening of Finding Fela, directed by Alex Gibney, followed by a discussion led by Dr. Hilary Jones, FIU Associate Professor of History & African and African Diaspora Studies.
Thursday, October 18th, 2018 @ 6pm
$5 Advance Tickets
$10 At the Door
Students FREE with student ID
Historic Hampton House Cultural Center
4240 NW 27th Ave
Miami, Florida 33142
*Free Parking in Rear via 43rd Terrace*
About the Film:
Directed by Academy Award winner Alex Gibney, Finding Fela tells the life story of Nigerian Afro-beat musician, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Using scenes from the 2009 Broadway show Fela!, video footage of Fela’s concerts, and interviews from his friends and family, this film documents his extraordinary life, informs audiences about his music, and explains his social and political importance in post-colonial Africa.
Born in 1938, Fela came of age in a middle-class family at the height of British colonial rule. His mother, Funmilayo Ransome Kuti advanced feminist and anti-colonial causes. After studying in London, Fela Kuti returned to independent Nigeria in 1963 where he developed his signature sound. His bands Afrika 70 and Egypt 80 popularized a music form that Fela called “Afro-beat.” Afro-beat blended jazz and funk with Ghanaian/Nigerian highlife. Fela Kuti’s 22-minute songs, his intricate compositions, and exuberant personality initially drew crowds from all over Nigeria, but it was his meaningful lyrics in Nigerian Pidgin English that kept them coming back. For every song he released, in opposition of the Nigerian government and military, there was backlash that landed him beaten and jailed. In one instance, the government attacks on Fela’s compound led to the death of his mother. It was this event that was a turning point for Fela, as the pain from losing his mother sent him down a spiritual path that further revolutionized his music.
Gibney’s film documents the height of Fela Kuti’s musical career in the 1970s and 1980s when he became an international musical superstar but also a symbol of the Pan-African struggle. He organized his own political party, challenged corruption, and fought against apartheid in South Africa. On August 2, 1997, Fela Kuti died from complications due to HIV/AIDS. Beloved by many, 1 million people reportedly attended his funeral. For Nigeria and as a Pan-African figure, Fela Anikulapo Kuti remains a musical icon and one of the continent’s most important spokespersons for democracy and justice.