WME Legends, a division of the renowned agency focused on the management of legacy brands and estates, proudly announced its newest acquisition on Tuesday, 24th of October, the estate of Afrobeat originator Fela Kuti. The intention behind the partnership is to nurture and magnify Fela Kuti’s profound influence on contemporary audiences.
Born Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, the Nigerian musical icon wasn’t just an artist, he was also a composer, bandleader, fervent political activist, and dedicated Pan-Africanist.
Fela Kuti laid the foundation for several genres of music
He is credited with the invention of Afrobeat, an intoxicating blend of funk, jazz, fuji, and highlife music. This ground-breaking genre laid the foundation for the globally recognized Afrobeats, which has been making significant inroads into the mainstream music scene in recent times. Fela Kuti’s life was tragically cut short in 1997 due to AIDS complications.
With this collaboration, WME Legends aims to manage and promote every aspect related to Fela Kuti’s legacy. This includes his image, music, intellectual property, and more. The management covers not just WME, but also its parent company, Endeavor, ensuring a broad spectrum of promotional activities.
It’s worth noting that pre-existing deals, such as his music’s distribution by Partisan Records and his publishing being divided between BMG and Sony, will remain intact.
How WWE plans to revive Fela Kuti’s legacy
But the excitement doesn’t end there. WME Legends has unveiled grand plans for rejuvenating Fela Kuti’s legacy. Among the thrilling ventures is a definitive scripted biopic, marking it as the first-ever to receive the Kuti estate’s endorsement. Although “12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen had previously endeavored to create a Kuti biopic with actor Chiwetel Ejiofor in the lead, it lacked the estate’s blessing.
WME Legends, with its impressive portfolio that boasts of managing estates of legends like The Notorious B.I.G., Eartha Kitt, and the iconic New York club, CBGB, promises a revival of Kuti’s story in a manner befitting his iconic status.
Fela Kuti’s estate’s interests were well represented during the negotiations by Olajide Oyewole, a respected member of DLA Piper Africa. With such promising prospects, fans and admirers can eagerly await a renewed celebration of the indomitable spirit and legacy of Fela Kuti.
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