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AFROPOP: THE ULTIMATE CULTURAL EXCHANGE: My Friend Fela and Birth of Afrobeat

A new perspective on the Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, "My Friend Fela" is told through conversations with his close friend and official biographer, African-Cuban Carlos Moore
Courtesy of American Public Television
A new perspective on the Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, "My Friend Fela" is told through conversations with his close friend and official biographer, African-Cuban Carlos Moore.

Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022 at 10:30 p.m. on KPBS TV

In “My Friend Fela,” director Joel Zito Araújo follows Carlos Moore — a close friend and the official biographer of Fela, as well as friend to major, international black figures like Malcolm X and Maya Angelou — as he explores the many unknown aspects of the legendary musician’s life. To counter what Araújo notes is the popular narrative of Fela as the “eccentric African pop idol of the ghetto,” photos, archival interviews and Moore’s own personal conversations with Fela’s wives, family and bandmates, bring viewers a seldom seen side of the revolutionary artist’s life and music.

My Friend Fela and Birth of Afrobeat | Official Promo | AfroPoP

Likewise, as Moore delves into the Nigerian political strife during Fela’s life and the Pan-African theories which shaped his beliefs and bled into his music, a nuanced profile of a musical revolutionary and champion of the people emerges.

The premiere episode will conclude with the short film, ”Birth of Afrobeat.” The live-action and animation hybrid captures the story of iconic drummer Tony Allen as he records the album “What Goes Up” with the American band Chicago Afrobeat Project in 2017 and discusses how he and Fela pioneered the Afrobeat genre.

The live-action animated short, "Birth of Afrobeat," tells how Nigerian drummer Tony Allen (pictured / undated) and his partner Fela Kuti created the Afrobeat genre
Courtesy of Opiyo Okeyo and restinbeats.com
The live-action animated short, "Birth of Afrobeat," tells how Nigerian drummer Tony Allen (pictured / undated) and his partner Fela Kuti created the Afrobeat genre.

“Season 12 launches with two films that pay tribute to the enduring legacy of two cultural trailblazers and the music they created which has done so much to unite people around the world around political struggles and shared realities,” said Black Public Media Executive Director Leslie Fields-Cruz.

The live-action animated short, "Birth of Afrobeat," tells how Nigerian drummer Tony Allen (pictured / undated) and his partner Fela Kuti created the Afrobeat genre.
Courtesy of American Public Television
The live-action animated short, "Birth of Afrobeat," tells how Nigerian drummer Tony Allen (pictured / undated) and his partner Fela Kuti created the Afrobeat genre.

About Season 12:

The series presents fresh perspectives on complex social and political realities in the African diaspora. The slate of documentaries and shorts in Season 12 include stories about: Nigerian musician Fela Kuti; a daughter investigating her father’s collaboration with an infamous war criminal in Liberia; an illegal 19th century slave-trade in the Brazilian rainforest; and a secret organization of black women founded on the Underground Railroad.

Watch On Your Schedule:

Episodes from Season 12 of AFROPOP: THE ULTIMATE CULTURAL EXCHANGE will also be available for a limited time at worldchannel.org.

Credits:

The series is co-executive produced by Leslie Fields-Cruz and Angela Tucker. The program is produced and directed by Duana C. Butler with the generous support of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts. Based at WGBH in Boston, WORLD Channel tells stories that humanize complex issues.