Daughter of late Afro beat legend (Fela Anikulapo-Kuti), YENI KUTI shares her childhood dreams, successes, challenges and more with me for the 'Memoir' section of MANIA Magazine Januray edition.
I’m excited to be fifty, when I was younger and I saw people who turned fifty, I used to think they were very old. But now, that I’m also there, I feel older but not very old. Dancing is my passion. I just love to dance. So whenever there’s music, I just translate the songs into dance and I enjoy it.
Yeni Kuti in her teens
What I wanted to be growing up was to be a dancer; I’ve always wanted to be a dancer. I didn’t always want to be the African dancer, I wanted to be a ballet dancer but then my father couldn’t afford to send me to ballet school so I never really studied dancing it has just been a passion I have developed by myself. When my brother said he was starting his band it was the right opportunity to dance, so when he informed my sister and I about his band we decided on rehearsing choreography. So that was how we started out, and even though I didn’t sign up at any dance school or sort when I was much younger I learnt Afro beat from one of my father’s dancers, Dele. I started dancing Afro beat from very a very young age, around five or six. While my family, especially my father inspired me but then a lot of dancers also inspired me, dancers like Ibitunbi and the likes. My father really inspired me and I guess that’s why I really miss him; I miss his company.
Especially the way we shared our gists. There are so many beautiful things to remember him for. I miss sitting and sharing gist with him, his lectures, going to his shows, listening and dancing to his music, him coming to our shows and playing guitar with Femi. So many things that I can’t remember, Fela was full of life. That was why when I heard about the Broadway Show I was proud that my father made an impact on people’s lives and that a show was staged in honour of him....(continued in the magazine)
Full story in StyleMania Magazine January issue featuring TY Bello on sale in major
super marts, bookstores and can also be purchased from street vendors.
Photos courtesy Yeni Kuti for MANIA Magazine.