These monsters that we preach Disguised as advertisements and fun TV shows They lead to this hate that we have now reached Guns passing faster than silly love notes during boring track meets A generation fast fading in neighborhoods unseen Their backs turned to themselves and their dying consciences Hate is glorified in the most lavish of ways Who can curse faster and better? Be the bully to that freckled fatty with redhead Love now larger and farther than a once four letter word Still a heavy burden on the hearts of those who seek to live it Monsters are disguised in the most beautiful of ways Thousand dollar purses on Robertson Boulevard Katherine’s growing baby bump the obsession of many dawns Youths in disdain adults in disarray Corrupt economies on the rise as the chocolate cookies crumble Grease stained fingers pointed in diverse directions Yet those monsters we continue to preach have nothing to do With the hate that we have now reached
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 1Timothy 2:1-2. NIV
Sound the alarm, make it known
As unprecedented history resoundingly repeats itself
A generation speaking for what it believes
The horns of victory blowing in their hearts
Celebration and joy flowing from them all
And though there is still much work to be done
We rejoice still in this feat
Acknowledging the long journey ahead
Its road tough and rough
Knowing in the coming days and months
We must reach across aisles
Putting ambition, color and self-agenda aside
Working together for a greater good
For underneath our dividing differences
Lay a unifying truth
Love for a great nation, our patriotism
So together we must work
Even if and when we disagree
Every one doing their part
For progress, success, and lasting change
I sit back and I stare
I stare at their pictures
And I wonder
How can I help them?
How can I save them?
When they cannot save themselves
I sit back and I imagine
What can be done about
Their many unfortunate plights
The diseases and devastations
Plaguing them and their kinds
Passed down many generations
I sit back and wonder
Why their government
Is so callous and inhumane
Selfish and corrupt
Personal ambition rules their hearts
It has overtaken their mental
They offer no compassion
They have no shame
When little children
Our future is dropping to their death
Like flies and pesky bugs
Yet they pay no attention
They ignore the reality
Can they not see?
Are they so blinded
By greed and evil
The minds can no longer fathom
The sad and preventable truth around them
I sit back and I stare
I stare at their pictures
And I wonder
How I can save them
When time and again
They have been failed
By their government and
Its elected officials
How can I make a lasting
Life altering difference?
I am still here sitting
I am still here wondering
I am still here staring
At their pictures
For I do not know what else
I can do…
Pity parades on campaign trails
Blitz promises that go no further
Past lying lips and greed stained teeth
Articulating childhood dreams that were illusions
“I was barefoot from birth until age 17”
Ridiculous attempts to connect to the masses
Next time buy them shoes and
Send them on their
Talking of painful experiences and
How it shaped their lives
Causing them to think and
Want to make a difference
Well they make a difference alright
A difference that would forever remain
A difference in their oversized pockets and in
The lives of their misfit progenies
They make a difference quite well
Glamorizing the audacity of their impoverished mentality
Next time they come trying to connect
With foolish tales of their past woes
Let us ignore them completely
Like we have been ignored
Give them the cold shoulder
Show them we are no longer puppets
No longer easily fooled
The days of foolery are over
We as a people now know better
Motor mouthing and brain washing will
No longer work
We know better than
To vote for heartless creatures
Who forget easily how far they have come
Next time when they try to connect
We would give them the cold shoulder
Like they have given us and generations past
Perhaps buy them some shoes and
Send them and their kinds
Back where they belong
It was a musical based on the life of Fela Anikulapo (One who has carries death in his pouch) Kuti, an African multi-instrumentalist, musician, singer, artist, and activist, and the pioneer of Afrobeats.
Everyone I knew was going to see it, or had gone to see it and gave it great reviews. And even though I didn’t know what to expect, I was looking forward to my first Broadway experience. Our show was slated for 2pm, the theater was packed full.
The scene was set in the Shrine, a club created by Fela back in the 70s, where he lived, played and later declared a republic independent from the Nigerian Government, whom he often spoke out against. His many women and dancers in scantily clad clothes dancing provocatively and shaking their “yansh” booty.
Fela was played by a young man from Sierra Leone, Sahr Ngaujah who in my humble opinion did a phenomenal job, even though he butchered the Yoruba language. He nailed Fela’s mannerisms, his way of dancing, tapping his feet several times over, and often strange but fascinating body movements.
As the show progress, I finally got a feel for what it was about; the evolution of the man and artist Fela. The play showcased his ambition to be a musician, but how he evolved into more than just that. How his trip to America, discovering black power, and meeting Sandra a member of the Black Panther Party shaped his views, and changed his music. Fela realized music could be a weapon.
He came back to Nigeria with this mindset, and his music against tyrant government, social injustice, and military bullying took flight. He became a voice in what seemed a voiceless generation. He became the first of his kind.
The play also showcased his mother’s influence on his life, and music. A female activist herself, Funmilayo known as “Mother of Africa” had a huge influence in her son’s life that I never knew of until I saw the play.
With many references to his mother and her big role in his life, we saw how she was encouraged her son, how he looked up to her, and also how she was killed. This takes Fela into another place of awareness and more evolvement as he becomes more involved in traditional beliefs and rituals. He never embraced colonization, western views or their religions, even though his own father was a reverend.
This scene shows the ancient, and some might argue still ongoing Yoruba culture and practice, evoking the gods, paying homage, and seeking their faces for direction, and power. This part of the play is where me, and I am certain a bunch of new generation Nigerians who have found Christianity and faith deemed uncomfortable. As a friend put it, “these people better be careful not to evoke the unknown on themselves.” I agree with her but also think it was staying true to the culture. We know who we are now, but we can never forget where we once were, or who we once were.
Fela’s mother was dressed all white in Yoruba attire, and was very reminiscent of Yemoja “the mother of gods.” The costumes for the acts were all right on the money.
As the show continued I was in a state of nostalgia, I wanted to listen to all of Fela’s songs again. The show had brought me to that place of longing. I was glad I saw it and even though I would have liked more music than the cast delivered, overall I think they did a fine job.
They stayed true to Fela, respected his life, art and vision, and the Yoruba culture. I think it was a play well done, a great experience for my first time. Sahr (Fela) ended the play with an appropriate Fela song- “Gentleman”
I think Fela Anikulapo Kuti, “Abami Eda” himself would have been proud, in Fela’s usual gesture- two hands up.