Fela Kuti's nomination is a notable one, but it's long overdue. The Nigerian legend could become the first solo African artist inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
While Fela Kuti's nomination to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame further reenforces his never-ending influence, it should have occurred perhaps a decade ago. A brief look into past awardees reveals no solo African artist has ever been inducted into the RRHOF. The two previous African artists had gotten in as members of a band—South African Trevor Rabin in 2017 as part of the band Yes and Freddie Mercury (who was born in Tanzania) in 2001 as a member of Queen.
At first, most Nigerians were expressionless to the news of Fela Kuti's nomination. It took Fela's son, Femi Kuti, Burna Boy, and several social media users to amplify the news of the nomination and the fan vote vital to the possibility of induction. But, why is this nomination just coming for Fela, who has been eligible for the RRHOF since 1996 but often overlooked?
For years now, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has been subjected to public outcry in its nomination and selection of artists for induction.The rules are simple—artists are only eligible for nomination 25 years after the release of their first album and only those who've had a significant impact on the evolution and development of rock and roll are inducted. Yet it's somehow not followed by the body who established them. Sister Rosetta Tharpe, often revered as the godmother of rock and roll, wasn't inducted until 2018.