Felix Hernandez: The Preservation of Classic Rhythm and Blues



It was in Tafawa Balawa Square in Lagos, Nigeria. The year was 1979 and I couldn’t stop my feet from moving. Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and his Africa 70 band was playing those funky rhythms I had heard so much about from Alex Oduro, the publisher of the Mushin and Ajegunle Standard. The concert was on my first photographic assignment for this grass-roots newspaper. You could hear Fela’s music permeating every area of the square, on the streets, in the clubs, around our compound. He was the “People’s President”, a Pan-Africanist who’s music spoke out against global and local corruption. He gave voice to the powerless, standing for unity, love and progress for all Africans. Fela, an accomplished musician, used his musical power as a force of change for Africa. He was a dynamic performer who was greatly influenced by the music and lyrics of self determination by “The Godfather of Soul”, James Brown. No wonder I couldn’t stop my feet from moving.