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REVEALED! What Many Don't Know About YENI KUTI @ 60

 +Why The KUTI Family Don't Joke With Her


Monday 24th May 2021 will remain a remarkable day for the popular Kuti family, as the eldest daughter of late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti celebrated her 60th birthday in grand style.

The celebration took place inside the popular New Afrika Shrine at Agidingbi in Lagos. Many dignitaries, friends and family members were in attendance to celebrate with Yk, as she is fondly called and the entire Kuti family.

Yeni Kuti was the cynosure of all eyes on this day as she looked stunning in her birthday dress. She is a stylish lady who loves to look good all the time. It was an evening of fun and accolades for the celebrant, as many people testified to her kind heart, simplicity and generosity of Yeni Kuti. Her immediate younger brother, Femi Kuti, and other siblings were everywhere that night, attending to people and made sure everything went well.

It was a well-planned event, and very organised. Security was top notch and all the Covid -19 rules and regulation was adequately observed, right from the entrance to the sitting arrangement.

The music band was Femi Kuti’s band member and his manager led the band to sing a lot of lovely tunes. And the Dj was at his very best, as he doled out different tunes to entertain the guests.

Amongst the dignitaries that graced this one in town event were; Lagos State Governor, Babajide Fashola, Hon. Abike Dabiri Erewa and her husband, Kenny Ogungbe, Dayo Adeneye, I.D Ogungbe, Kunle Afolayan, and many others. Omo Baba, the comedian anchored the event. And he did a good job of it. He is a very versatile Entertainer. He not only cracks jokes, he also sings.

Omoyeni ‘Yeni’ Anikulapo-Kuti was born on 24 May 1961 in England, the United Kingdom. She is a professional dancer, singer and descendant of the illustrious Ransome-Kuti family. Her grandmother was the famous Women’s Rights Activist, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. Yeni Anikulapo-Kuti pioneered the idea of Felabration, a music festival conceived to celebrate the life and contributions of her father Fela Kuti to society.

Born in England, Yeni Anikulapo-Kuti was born as the first child to Afrobeat pioneer, Fela Kuti and to a British mother. She completed her basic and secondary education in Lagos after leaving the United Kingdom at the age of 2. She holds a Diploma in Journalism after she graduated from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism. In 1986, she joined Femi’s band as a Singer and dancer after dropping her job as a fashion designer. She currently serves as a co-manager of the New Afrika Shrine alongside her brother Femi Kuti.

Why did she stop dancing? She used to dance a few years back.

"I never stopped dancing, I only stopped dancing professionally. First of all, I was getting old and the girls were getting older and I believe you should leave when the ovation is loudest. I still train the girls and a couple of years back I went to Australia to do some dance workshop".

We asked her to talk about her love for fashion?

“You know I just dress the way I feel. I love clothes, it doesn’t have to be designers, I just love clothes it can be 5,000 it can be 10,000. It’s not the price but how it looks and how I feel in it. I just love to look good and I think I got my style from my father. What I don’t know is it I was born with it or I got attracted by just watching him. I would actually love to start a fashion show just for upcoming designers to show what they have.

Nigerians are very talented. But Coro no go gree because everyone is in their house but trust me I love fashion"

How does she explain her dad’s love for fashion?

“That is why I think I must have gotten it from him because I remember when they burnt Fela’s house he had over 5,000 outfits. His room had a cloth outlet, he had clothes and shoes to match. I used to watch him when he's sometimes dressing up sometimes, he ask for your opinion and I notice I do that a lot too. I loved fashion. And a lot of people do not know that Fela loved ice cream and chocolate. In fact, when he passed on his fridge was filled with sweets and chocolate.

How come she & her siblings call her Daddy, Fela throughout?

"Yes because all our friends were calling their father daddy and we were calling our own Fela, Fela once said that if you dare call him daddy that we will lose our allowance and our brain set immediately"

How did she feel during the lockdown when the shrine was locked up, no activity...

“I felt very bad. You know the thing is whether the shrine is opened or not, the expenses are still going to run, so I just have a headache when I think of all this. You can’t tell your staffs because you are not working you will not be paid, you must give them something to hold body. So these are all the challenges that we are facing".

How profitable is it running an outfit like the shrine?

“It is not like we are making billions but we get by and we try to make it easy for the people. We charge 500 for the gate fee when someone is performing, Thursdays are free and we sell the cheapest drinks. I am not one of the people that believe in making big profit and then people are suffering. I think the more people you get, the more profit you make".

And the turn out was impressive. The African Shrine was filled to capacity with guests and family members who came to celebrate Yeni. It was a roll call family from Uncles to Aunties, Cousins, Nephews & Nieces. All of Yeni's siblings and half-siblings were there.

Femi and Kunle were there. Seun was also in attendance. All her dad's fans and loyalists reunited at her birthday. All her classmates in both Primary & Secondary School were there. All the guests cut across many generations. The new Kuti generation, represented by Made (Femi’s son) were there.

Yeni’s in-laws also came.

Her husband Theo Lawson was on his feet all through the event. He also invited his friends and school mate.

Why did they all show Yeni an outpouring of love we asked some of them. And they told City People that it is because of Yeni’s good nature. She is the rallying point for all the Kuti family members.

Revealed an insider, Yeni took over managing the family members when Fela passed on. It is to her credit that Femi and Seun reconciled their differences. She was instrumental to all the reconciliation among family members.

Femi came on stage at the event to eulogise her sister who turned 60. Femi himself will be 60 next year. “I love my sister so much. She is there for everybody. She is nice to everybody, be it family members and friends. She worries for everybody. She is always prepared to help resolve family issues. She is like a mother hen.

He also spoke about Yeni’s love for looking good. “People think that its only my dad that loves to dress well because he had a lot of clothes and shoes, my sister also took after him. She has a room full of dresses and shoes”.

It is the love for Yeni that made all the female members of the Kuti family and the Kuti wives stand by her that Monday.

At the entrance into the venue was Barrister Nike Kuti, the half caste daughter of late Dr Ransome Kuti. She took charge of the list of guests and ensured that whoever made it inside was on the Guest List.

Even Femi’s ex-wife, Funke (Made’s mum) was there making sure everybody had a nice time. Made was glued to her pretty mum.

- Sunday Adigun

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