For the last week, Kanye West was in Africa finding inspiration for his new album, Yandhi. While there, he posted a video to Periscope in which he praised his own intellect as well as his upcoming music, remarking, “the spirit of Fela, the spirit of Marley, the spirt of Pac… they flow through me.” Now, the son of Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kudi has spoken out against West’s use of his father’s name in the video.
“On behalf of the Kuti family, I want to state that the spirit of Olufela Anikulapo Kuti isn’t anywhere near Kanye West,” Seun Kuti said in a statement posted to his Instagram.
While on safari, West and his wife, Kim Kardashian, also met with Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, who has toughened the country’s laws forbidding homosexuality and even implemented laws that can find citizens imprisoned for not reporting gay people to the authorities, BBC reports. He gifted the president a pair of Yeezy Boosts, and, as such, is facing criticism from one of Uganda’s leading artists, Bobi Wine.
Wine was famously arrested and beaten by Ugandan authorities in August for speaking out against the president. At the time, artists like Damon Albarn and Chris Martin signed a statement condemning Wine’s treatment. Now, The Guardian reports that Wine described West’s meeting with Museveni as “immoral.” He added, “[West] is hobnobbing with a president who has been in power now for 32 years and restricts any freedom, a country where opposition activists are tortured and imprisoned.”
He continued, “It would have been great if he had used his voice for the good of people in Africa. I’m a musician but I am not allowed to stage a show in my own country because I disagree with the president. It is very disappointing.”
The BBC quotes Dr. Jonathan Fisher, an expert in African politics at the University of Birmingham, as saying that Museveni likely wanted to meet with West as a way to get on the radar of Donald Trump, who he has praised in the past. The BBC also points out the ways in which Museveni has “changed the constitution in ways which have helped him stay in power.” Trump has repeatedly said in rallies he’d like to abolish the two-term limit as a means of keeping himself in power.