Monday, October 1, 2011
7th Annual Fela Kuti Tribute Brings Chops and Queens to U Street
Washington, DC (Monday, October 1, 2012) – Black President’s Day, a tribute to the musical legacy of Fela Kuti, will take place on Wednesday, October 24th along the historic U Street Corridor at Tropicalia located at 2001 14th Street, NW. In addition to the usual Fela-centered dj sets and live art, LiL SoSo Productions will mark its seventh year with a special musical countdown called ‘Chop 4 Seven’ and feature painted participants in what will be called the Queens’ Stroll on the night of the event.
Black President’s Day serves as the official DC tribute to Afrobeat creator Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Born in Nigeria on October 15, 1938, many have become familiar with the musician due to the success of the Broadway hit that bears his name. However, few are aware of the tribute that began in October 2005 and has continued since. “A group of us came together the first time all wanting to celebrate the life of Fela in our way. When we put our heads together, the concept was born. In 2008, I changed the name to ‘Black President’s Day’ to coincide with what was then our most viable possibility of the first Black president of the United States and also as a reminder of Fela’s own run for the Nigerian presidency in 1979 under his Movement of the People party,” says Risikat “Kat” Okedeyi, owner of LSP and self-scribed cultural architect.
As part of the lead up to the event, LSP has partnered with The Beat Inn, a Facebook group of aspiring and professional music producers, to create what are known as ‘chops’. This is when a tune is literally chopped up to create a whole new song. From a list of pre-selected Fela tunes, participants will create their best chop in hopes of being featured as one of the ‘Chop 4 Seven’ tracks that LSP will begin announcing on Thursday, October 18th as a countdown to the main event. Kellie Thomas, the U.S. founder of The Beat Inn says, “We are very excited to be partnering with LSP. The [Beat] Inners see the weekly chops as a constant challenge to their creative abilities, so the opportunity to do more than one has people really excited.”
Finally, in honor of the women known primarily for their ritual-inspired make up and on-stage gyrations, the first ever Queens’ Stroll will take place at the beginning of the event. Women painted in the style of the Queens will meet on the corner of 12th and U Streets and proceed in a processional style manner to the event location on the corner of 14th and U Street. According to Okedeyi, “The Queens are always honored with many of us [women in attendance] “painting up”. This year, I wanted to take it up a notch to see what would happen if we descended on the event en masse. The stroll will be like an elegant parade of goddesses down U Street.”
The ‘Chop 4 Seven’ promotion will begin on Thursday, October 18th and countdown to the main event Black President’s Day which will take place on Wednesday, October 24th at 8pm at Tropicalia (2001 14th Street, NW), with the Queens’ Stroll beginning at 8:30pm. There is a $5 cover and participants must be 21 and over. For more information on the event, please log onto: www.lilsoso.com
Founded in September 2001, LiL SoSo Productions (LSP) is woman-owned company that specializes in cultural architecture. With over 12 years of domestic and international planning experience, LSP is a noted force in the D.C. arts scene.