Nigeria: Fela Kuti Becomes 1st African Artist to Get Nod At Rock Hall of Fame

Fela Kuti
13 February 2021

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame midweek announced its long list of nominees for the class of 2021and it was a surprise that the late Afrobeat legendary artiste, Fela Kuti made the list.

Hiphop mogul, Jay-Z and Foo Fighters got nominated in their first year of eligibility. Other first-time nominees include Mary J. Blige, Fela Kuti, the Go-Go's, Iron Maiden, and Dionne Warwick.

To be eligible, an individual artiste or band must have released its first commercial recording at least 25 years prior to the year of nomination.

If the Afrobeat legend Fela gets inducted, he will be the first African artiste in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The top five inductees are selected by public vote and the vote is now open till April 30 via rockhall.com. According to the organisers, the inductees will be announced in May, and the Rock Hall is planning to throw a live ceremony in Cleveland, OH.

Fela Kuti who had almost four decades of an active career with several albums, made Afrobeat genre of music popular gaining international reputation. As regards this feat, visual artist, illustrator and designer of repute, Lemi Ghariokwu who designed original cover images of Fela's songs and albums said, "His (Fela) nomination into the Rock Hall of Fame means that Fela is so well recognised to be nominated at all with all those foreign artistes. It cements his global greatness."

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's Class of 2020 included Nine Inch Nails, Whitney Houston, the Notorious B.I.G., Depeche Mode, T. Rex, and the Doobie Brothers. Due to COVID-19, the live show was delayed and the traditional live ceremony was scrapped in favour of a filmed HBO special.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame class of 2021 nominees are: Mary J. Blige, Kate Bush, Devo, Foo Fighters, The Go-Go's, Iron Maiden, JAY-Z, Chaka Khan, Carole King, Fela Kuti, LL Cool J, New York Dolls, Rage Against the Machine, Todd Rundgren, Tina Turner and Dionne Warwick

The Hall of Fame Foundation was established on April 20, 1983, by Ahmet Ertegun, founder and chairman of Atlantic Records.

English guitarist, singer and songwriter, Eric Clapton, is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The first group of inductees, inducted on January 23, 1986, included Elvis Presley, James Brown, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, Sam Cooke, the Everly Brothers.

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