THE BLOG

Finding Fela: Music Is the Weapon of Choice for Some

08/13/2014 09:49 am ET | Updated Oct 13, 2014

Africa!

It's probably one of the wealthiest lands on the planet, but it also houses some of the earth's poorest people, both economically and health wise.

Case in point, Ebola has made headlines again in this context.

A few months ago, over 200 girls were kidnapped from their school and, as of today, have still not been returned to their families and homes. And worse, these girls are no longer even worthy of news anymore.

The very mention of Africa brings mixed feelings by so many variety of people. Africa still has a mystique about it that enchants mostly affluent societies, but it is feared or not even thought of by the very children who were ripped from it's bosom some 400 plus years ago.

Even I had to admit, as fascinated as I was about Africa, that I feared it more and had no urgent desire to visit the land in which society tells me I am a descendent of. Fear of the unknown had wiped away any desire in me that might have been fostered. In tangent with a combination of years being called n*****r by my classmates of the white and Latino race; hell even the dark-skinned Indians;Dominicans didn't want to claim their black skin. So why should I?

Governed by shame, my first trip to declare my independence was to London right out of high school. I knew I would be accepted. I knew things would be different there than in America. It would be different because the citizens there are ruled by a queen!

Nope.

They were just as racist -- with a different accent.

So back I went back to America, the only thing I've known since I was brought there from Haiti, too young to adopt the Haitian culture as my own since I was removed from that society.

But I was different. I was now determined to embrace everything about my blackness -- the good, the bad and the slavery.

I would be successful to prove them all wrong! I would like to make those before me proud.

I guess that was what Fela wanted for his Nigeria and his people and his beloved Africa. Fela took the world by storm. He made a name for himself that not even his enemies could erase. They could never silence him. Even after death his music has a voice.

In a scurry to make it to the theatre, I wanted to see the public release of the documentary "Fela," I rush to be greeted at the door my dear friend Dolly Turner, who graciously sat me right behind royalty -- Fela's son Femi Futi and the director, Alex Gibney.

Unaware of who he was, I complimented him on his very fashionable African attire and we exchanged a few laughs before I sat in my seat.

I sat there, only to soon be in awe of this man as he was introduced to the stage. His charm was definitely an inheritance left by his father. He had great stage presence and a voice that commanded the room.

If you don't know Fela, his history and his story, make it your point to see Finding Fela. It's a combination of documentary and performances from the play from those who know, and respected his work, whether they agreed with his philosophy or not.

It brought out various personal memories that reminded me the pain I felt. Most sad to me was his untimely death and poor care of his life. But the event showed why we "Africans" are gifted and brilliantly blessed as Jill Scott sang those reminders to us.