As Afrobeat king, Femi Anikulapo-Kuti is getting ready to host President Emmanuel Macron tonight at the Afrika Shrine, Ikeja, Lagos, he has exclusively opened up to The Daily Sun on what he would tell the French leader and the kind of songs he would play.
You have the French President, Emmanuel Macron visiting Nigeria and Afrika Shrine for the first time, how do you feel?’
It depends on who I’m talking to. To the people that have been supporting us all these years, they already know. To myself, I’m happy; for my family, I’m glad; for the (Afrika) Shrine, it’s fantastic; it proves that we are not what many people think.
If you meet President Macron one on one, what are you going to tell him?
I will talk to him about many issues. I will talk to him about the issues of crisis, corruption, bad government in Africa, and France participation in the past and present in encouraging mismanagement in the continent. France must apologize for its role in slavery.
I’m sure tonight will just be formal but if I get the opportunity to talk to him one on one, I will tell him that. He is a young, vibrant leader who is progressive. So, if my thoughts about him are true, he must want to sit down and listen to the truth and he must want to support the truth. He personally did not take part in the slave trade and that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t apologise.
Is this the first time you are performing for a sitting president?
Yes, it is my first time. Fela never did it, but that doesn’t justify a great artiste. Just because Fela didn’t do it doesn’t mean he wasn’t great. If President Macron comes to the Shrine, it justifies all that my father did and what we have been doing here for 18 years.
Whether anybody likes it or not, this is the biggest entertainment spot and cultural shrine in Nigeria. It is globally known, there is nowhere in Nigeria that it (Shrine) is not known, so if you are the president of anywhere, where else would you go to present anything? It must be the Shrine, except you are a hypocrite. So, for him to come here (Afrika Shrine), he must be very progressive like I said.
What songs are you going to play for him?
I’m going to play my songs. I’m still deciding what to play but it will be from my album ‘One People One World’. My intro will be ‘Truth Don Die’ and ‘No Place for My Dream’ but I’m still thinking. It is not a complete show; a complete show is a minimum of 90 minutes, which I’ll do on a normal tour.
Now, I have about 20 or 30 minutes to perform, they can’t take all my songs. I’ll probably play my most dynamic songs but definitely these three numbers will be there. A track called ‘Evil People’ may also be there. I want to sing about corruption and stealing but this would probably go against my time.