Pop Culture
Mar 29, 2022, 06:27AM

You Know, This Is Very Colonial

A 2020 Kenyon Review interview with poet Victoria Chang vs a 1986 SPIN interview with the late musician Fela Kuti.

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Victoria Chang: Wait. How could it only be personal?

Fela Kuti: I don’t want to say until I’ve done it.

Chang: To not force anything, but to just let things be and coexist with no explanation.

Kuti: I decided to try to not play games, not read books, and just try to let the time go and see whether I could conquer boredom that way—try not to think, if possible, think only of the future, if possible, think of the past, then remix it toward the future.

Chang: But what do we have left?


Kuti: So I have nothing to fear.

Chang: I don’t, as you know, have much time.

Kuti: I didn’t care about the consequences.

Chang: It made me begin to wonder about the asynchronous aspect of grief.

Kuti: You know, this is very colonial.


Chang: So I am from somewhere else, but that somewhere else doesn’t exist.

Kuti: I don’t want anyone to say I’m telephoning the CIA in secret [laughs sardonically].

Chang: In fact, I feel as if that is all we are here for sometimes. Nothing is really ours.

Kuti: I had some new songs that I played in my head, but I wasn’t able to write them.

Chang: Then I put them at the end of the manuscript, along with the rest of these horrible form poems.


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