The sex Calender: Fela Kuti and his 28 wives | Ideas Worth Sharing
So many issues sprang to head as I read about Fela Kuti’s living arrangement with his wives. Polygamy has always fascinated me, and as I argued here I do not think that it is inherently a bad practice. Adults are free to choose to live their lives as they please. The problem is that polygamy is often accompanied by power struggles and abuse as is clear in the relationship between Fela Kuti and his wives. Throughout the book, and especially in the chapter “My Queens”, it is clear to me that Fela Kuti abused his wives not only physically through beatings but also emotionally and psychologically. However, this aspect of his life is almost never mentioned as we sing praises to Fela Kuti, the Legend. It is almost like his talent and political activism gives him a licence to abuse women and get away with it.
This is not limited to Fela Kuti. The world generally does not pay much attention to the abuse of women by men. However, this is more so when the abusers are men of extraordinary abilities or talents. Their talent is an altar upon which society sacrifices women (and children) to appease the gods of talent. Many examples abound both historical and contemporary, in art but also in politics. From Mahatma Gadhi, Chris Brown, Michael Jackson, R Kelly, Roman Polanski, Hervey Weinstein, Kofi Olomide and Fela Kuti. These are only a few examples off the top of my head, I am sure there are many more.
How many women (and children) are we as a society willing to offer as sacrifice for these men we love so much? How many is enough? As you shake your head to the rhythm of Fela Kuti’s or Michael Jackson’s music, do you think about the abuse? DO you hear the “paf-paf-paf-paf-paf” sound as Fela Kuti described his slaps to his wives? Or do you conveniently separate the art from the artist?