Seun Kuti, the youngest son of late Afro-beat maestro, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, has revealed that over the years, the media has deliberately misrepresented his personality just the same way his late father’s image was misconstrued.
The controversial singer made the revelation, among other things, during a chat with Chude Jideonwo, on his podcast programme, #WithChude.
According to the leader of the Egypt 80 musical band, contrary to a widespread conclusion that he started smoking at a tender age, he did not do so until he was 21 years old.
He noted that the media also projected his father’s image in a bad light during his lifetime, stressing that this made the general public come to the wrong conclusion that his father wore underpants all the time while performing on stage.
Setting the records straight, the singer said, “I think it’s deliberate on the part of the media to project me out. It’s the same way they projected my dad, and people thought he wore pants all the time to perform. They kept showing him at one rehearsal at home, where he wore pants. But that was part of a documentary. People thought that was the truth, and they felt Fela was crazy”
“For example, I didn’t start smoking until I was 21 years old. I was in Liverpool, and that was when I knew that peer pressure is the biggest influence in the life of a growing human being.”
While revealing how he finally started smoking at the age of 21, during his 20 years of living in the Kalakuta Republic, he advised parents to pay attention to their children and their friends, noting that it would be the best gift a parent can give to their children.
He stated, “Watch your child’s friends, that’s the best gift you can give them. For the 20 years that I lived in Kalakuta Republic, everyone was smoking around me, and I never smoked. After just one year of living with my flatmate, Alex, who was smoking all the time and was my agemate, he initiated me.”
Speaking further, he lamented how the media wrote articles about him taking drugs he never took.
“At that time, they had started writing articles about how I was taking all kinds of drugs. I think it’s a way they project people in certain ways that society disregards. It’s a kind of alienation tactic”, he said.
Sharing his experience on the loss of his late parents, Seun revealed that he is yet to come to terms with the loss of his mom unlike that of his dad. According to him, the reason is that when his dad died, he had time to grieve but never had time to grieve his mom’s loss because he was on a music tour.
He added that to date, he is yet to have closure on his mom’s death like he has achieved for his dad’s.
“I grieved for my dad because he was the closest person to me, and he was the first person I know that died, so for me, it was a really impactful experience losing my dad; it was like losing my best friend, my dad, and a family member, all in one. I really grieved for a long time. I grieved my dad.
“The one I didn’t grieve for was my mom. I couldn’t. I had a tour. There was no time to break down. If I’m going to share some of my mental issues on this show, it’s like I think I’m grieving my mom in stages; kind of, I’ve not really had time to really delve into that, but the bad part is past, and I still grieve her from time to time. I don’t have complete closure for my mom like I do for my dad”, he revealed.
Recounting his experience in detention, after his assault encounter with a policeman, he said, “Well, my case is in court, so I will not really delve deep into that issue, but I will say this, I don’t believe that protecting my family is a crime. An 8-second video doesn’t explain an incident that happened for about 15 minutes.
He went further to debunk rumours gone viral that he became a pastor while he was in detention.
“What I learned is that anybody could be in that cell. From what I saw in that place, I knew anybody could be in that cell.” Responding to the story peddled that he prayed in the cell, he said, “I didn’t become a GO in the cell. I don’t pray. I meditate a lot with my ancestors and share my plans and ambitions. It’s just the continual onslaught of the Nigerian media against me that painted it as though I was praying”, he submitted.