This past week, I was not only reminded of that somber reality but also how much kindness, generosity & hope is out there too.
While writing this issue, I was listening to ‘Dog Eat Dog
’, by The Souljazz Orchestra
, it features Nigerian author, activist and artist Mabinuori Kayode Idowu. The lyrics stuck with me as the unjust struggles globally for so many and, of course, my own were on my mind.
So, with a renewed inspiration by the notion of fighting for what’s right, I learned more about Mabinuori’s efforts. I also quickly discovered that he was a friend and musical collaborator with Fela Anikulakpo Kuti
. (I’ve been a fan for ages but hadn’t learned enough about him yet!)
Dare to be different ~ Fela Kuti decided to pursue music and not becoming an MD like his siblings. The author’s point? “Why fit in when you can stand out? It always pays to be unique.”
Be Bold – Never succumb to fear ~ Even in the face of the brutal military dictatorship that ruled Nigeria in the 1970s and 80s, Fela was one of the fiercest critics. Fela could have easily shut his mouth, but he didn’t. Boldness, like fear, is a choice.
Never ever give up! ~ Following Fela’s unrelenting criticism of the military dictatorship, soldiers were ordered to his house. he was beaten within an inch of his life, his mother was as well and she died from the injuries. His house was burnt to the ground and he lost his music studio, musical instruments, equipment… everything. Fela didn’t relent and the albums released after his terrible ordeal are his greatest hits to date!
Be versatile and creative ~ Fela was a creative and versatile musician. He could play several instruments including the saxophone, keyboards, trumpet, electric guitar, and the drums. His skill with instruments combined with his reflective music and sonorous voice always made him a wonder to watch on stage. Iwuoha’s business lesson here is: as business leader, it is always better to be multi-skilled. Adding more skills to your toolbox is a necessary strategy to succeed & smart entrepreneurs understand that learning never ends.
Cultivate a fiercely loyal and cult-like following ~ “Fela’s boldness and uniqueness struck a chord with many dispirited Nigerians and Africans in general. He naturally provided the leadership that was clearly lacking in a society overrun by poor social welfare, police brutality and corruption.” Word-of-mouth will always be the most successful, gratifying and cost-effective means of advertising a business. Personally, I am so grateful for everyone that subscribes to this newsletter, reps a Twotone sticker and has referred my company opportunities for new work.
Remember to leave a legacy ~ “Fela’s creative music genius and his magnetic personality has been widely influential on African music, popular culture and social activism.” Iwuoha writes more about business in the context of Africa and I agree that there should be an overriding motivation to leave a legacy that lives beyond a business’s creator. I’d go further and say that a legacy goes beyond a commercial mark on the world. What do you want to be remembered for?
For me, whether it’s getting more people on bicycles, ensuring my children have access to their home here in Amsterdam or advancing social issues that I believe in: I want to be remembered for my fight for what I believe is right. ✊
As always, thank you for reading! I hope you have a nice weekend ahead and maybe through Fela Kuti’s music, a renewed inspiration to fight for what’s right too,