Author Carlos Moore has settled his three year old claim against the producers of the Broadway musical, Fela!. All playbills and associated materials of the internationally-acclaimed show, now bear the acknowledgement: “Inspired by the authorised biography Fela: This Bitch of a Life!, by Carlos Moore.”
In a joint statement by him and the producers of the show, they announced that, “the matter of Mr Moore’s claims has been resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties.”
The statement is a resounding victory and testimony to Moore’s dogged persistence. In his lawsuit, Moore had contended that elements and sections of his authorised, first-person biography of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti, had been taken from the original book and used almost verbatim in the musical without his permission.
The two sections entitled Afa Ojo, more commonly known as the Black Pages, were a mystical aside featuring Fela’s mother calling on her son to continue the struggle. Many critics consider the Afa Ojo sections as having provided what became the backbone for the musical: the spirit interaction between Fela’s dead mother and her rebel son.
Moore’s lawsuit said the producers of the musical lifted the Black Pages without acknowledging his book as the central inspiration for the production.
Apart from the original publication by Allison & Busby (London, 1982), the Cassava Republic Press version of the biography is the only edition which features the controversial pages. To buy the book, go to www.cassavarepublic.biz.
Cassava Republic Press said it is extremely happy that Carlos Moore’s intellectual property and contribution to the Broadway show has now been publicly and appropriately acknowledged. In his statement, Moore limited himself to thanking his “many friends around the world who extended their support to me over this matter”.
They included Margaret Busby, founder of his original publisher, Allison and Busby.