Photo Credit: Trevor Griffiths iDeLick Media
I was woken up early this morning by a consistent ringing of my phone, I must explain. I tend to go to bed generally each night between 3 to 5 am and don't start my working day till 11am (I might be up before 11 but no answering of phones until then. I don't care if you are calling me about a national emergency it is just going have to wait till at least 11 before I can help. This 11 am thing is important before you think I am waffling, because my phone kept ringing consistently and it was not 11, so I decided to answer it after about the 50th time of non stop ringing.
Of course I put on my I am wide awake voice, to try and sound all business like in case it was a client but to my surprise the first response I got to my "good morning" was "have you seen the article in the ES Magazine" (ES = Evening Standard), it is a gross misrepresentation of the facts about where and how Afrobeats started".
The article seems to imply that DJ Abrantee of Choice FM was the man that made Afro beats popular, and people in the know are very upset by this as historically and factually this is not the case, to me this is a bit like saying that Eminem invented Rap music.
Before I go on I must say that DJ Abrantee is a good friend of mine and this point of correction article is not aimed at him personally but it is only fair to those that came before him that they get the credit they deserve.
I believe that Jimi the Bald Headed Guy summed it up perfectly when he said that "Afrobeat as a music genre, was created and made popular many years ago before Dj Abrantee kicked off his Late Saturday show on Choice FM, by the late Fela Kuti and it bears no relation to the various contemporary African music genre(s) that have emerged on the London club scene". As far as he is concerned "Abrantee is only representing what is already there. Naijapop and Hiplife have been around for over ten years and Abrantee knows that".
The various African genres of music include HIplife from Ghana, Kwaito from South Africa, Ndombolo from Zaire. Zairean Ndombolo, Camerounian Makossa, Cote D'Voire's Mapouka and NAIJAPOP from Nigeria and a lot more.
I was fortunate to grow up during the times of Fela Kuti, frequently visiting his house, partying with his children and was a regular at the world renowned Shrine, so I can and am categorically saying that Afrobeats was made popular by Fela Kuti and many others that followed after him. To put it into perspective for my Caribbean brothers and sisters a good way of explaining this, is to say that people were playing and singing Reggae music long before Bob Marley came along but Bob Marley made Reggae Popular and brought it onto the international scene but let's say that all of a sudden DJ Abrantee or Daddy Ernie from Choice FM started playing Reggae how many years after the death of Bob Marley and all of a sudden people say that they made Reggae popular, I hope this makes sense.
Afrobeats started many years ago and was made internationally popular by the pioneer of Afrobeats Fela Kuti and developed a resurgence internationally in 2006 with the hit African Queen by 2face Idibia. This award winning hit track "African Queen" was used as the sound track of the 2006 comedy film, Phat Girlz.
There are many Dj' and clubs in East and South London that have been playing Afrobeats as it is now being called, to full houses for many years and it must be said as with anything in this country if you have access to mainstream and you do something, you get the credit for it – Choice FM is owned by the owners of Capital Radio and we all know that the Choice FM of today is not the same as of the old days, both in terms of its commercialisation and its play list and anything that it now does would and does get mainstream credit. So bearing that in mind in one way the article is correct in saying that Dj Abrantee has brought it to mainstream in terms of the significant numbers that get to hear Afrobeats, purely and simply because he has Choice FM as the medium to do so and not because he is the pioneer of Afrobeats.
Whitney Elizabeth Houston RIP – August 9 1963 – February 11 2012...
I need not say much about her but just give you some facts below about how phenomenal an artist she was.
In 2009, the Guinness World Records cited her as the most-awarded female act of all-time. Houston was also one of the world's best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums, singles and videos worldwide. She released seven studio albums and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certification.
Houston is the only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits. She is the second artist behind Elton John and the only female artist to have two number-one Billboard 200 Album awards (formerly "Top Pop Album") on the Billboard magazine year-end charts. Houston's 1985 debut album Whitney Houston became the best-selling debut album by a female act at the time of its release. The album was named Rolling Stone's best album of 1986, and was ranked at number 254 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Her second studio album Whitney (1987) became the first album by a female artist to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
Houston's first acting role was as the star of the feature film The Bodyguard (1992). The film's original soundtrack won the 1994 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Its lead single "I Will Always Love You", became the best-selling single by a female artist in music history. With the album, Houston became the first act (solo or group, male or female) to sell more than a million copies of an album within a single week period under Nielsen Sound Scan system. The album makes her the top female act in the top 10 list of the best-selling albums of all time, at number four. Houston continued to star in movies and contribute to their soundtracks, including the films Waiting to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher's Wife (1996). The Preacher's Wife soundtrack became the best-selling gospel album in history.
On February 11, 2012, Houston was found dead in her guest room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, California, of causes not immediately known. News of her death, the day before and after the 2012 Grammy Awards, featured prominently in American and international media.
May her soul rest in perfect peace.
I don't Speak Properly...
Over the weekend whilst producing the Fashions Finest London Fashion Week shows I was doing the voice over for the show and afterwards I was told that I don't speak English properly, can you believe that. Seriously it is bad enough that when I am in Nigeria I am called "Oyinbo Boy" (white boy ) cos of my English accent and how I speak and then to be in London and be told I don't speak good English because they say I say FREE instead of THREE, hello don't be slow – do you get it now. Anyway as far as I am concerned I speak the Queens English.
Black People Fashion...
London Fashion Week will be coming to an end tomorrow and I am sure for some of you it has just simply passed you by without too much recognition and I suppose rightly so, as firstly members of the public don't really get in to watch the shows and second black designers generally have to climb Mount Everest first before they would even be recognised just to be told you are not ready for LFW not to talk about actually showing at LFW.
Outside of the official London Fashion Week shows African and Caribbean designers have been getting some fantastic exposure. Le Geneve Events featured the Caribbean Collection which was a two day exhibition of designers from the Caribbean, Vauxhall Fashion Scout had a special show by Ubuntu initially known as the Nigeria collective show and of course Fashions Finest kept up its tradition of supporting and showcasing designers from across the African continent alongside both Caribbean and Asian designers, over two days over 27 designers showcased at Fashions Finest.
The only sad thing is that as mainstream designers start to use African fabrics and styles in their designs they once again steal the limelight and take all the glory for the so called Renaissance of African fashion. I think they need to remember that African fashion never went anywhere, it's always been here.
Check out the pictures from Fashions Finest LFW & the Other Fashions Weeks that have just taken place.
Saturday evening saw the eagerly anticipated Music, Video and Screen Awards ceremony (MVSA, pronounced - M VISAS) take place in the heart of Birmingham, England.