For Spring 2019 Carhartt pay tribute to Fela Kuti, the iconic Nigerian musician, political activist, human rights campaigner and pioneer of Afrobeat. Working in close co-operation with the Fela Anikulapo Kuti Estate, Knitting Factory Records and his former manager, Carhartt Wip has created the Fela Kuti x Carhartt WIP capsule collection, featuring designs that take influence from his lyrics the legendary artwork from his best known albums.
Fela was an incredible multi-instrumentalist and prolific songwriter that made 50 albums in his lifetime, and the concerts at his Afrika Shrine in Lagos along with his bands Afrika 70 and later re-named Egypt 80 remains the stuff of legends to this day. He declared that "Music is the is the weapon of the future, music is the weapon of the progressive, music is the weapon of the givers of love", but rebelling against oppressive regimes through his music came at a considerable cost. But despite being arrested over 200 times and having endured dozens of beatings, he still persisted in making political and cultural statements about greed and corruption in his music.
Kuti passed away in 1997, but his passion for addressing injustice and the vibrant way he conveyed his message lives and his influence can be seen in a whole host of contemporary music genres. With many artists still sampling and covering his work today, names such as Nas, Missy Elliott, Common, Pete Rock and many more are helping to keep Fela's music out there, along with his politically fuelled words and his vision.
To accompany and soundtrack the Fela Kuti x Carhartt WIP capsule collection the founder of NTS Femi Adyeme has also prepared a Carhartt Radio Show which features his favourite Fela Kuti songs, which you can also check out below.