Hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa came under fire when former Zulu Nation member Ronald "Bee-Stinger" Savage accused Bambaataa of sexually abusing him when he was just a teenager. Now, more alleged victims are coming forward with their own accounts of abuse.
Vice sat down with Savage as well as two more alleged victims, who detailed multiple occasions of abuse at the hands of Bambaataa. "He was like a god. It was like, 'This is the guy I had always heard about.' Everybody knew who Afrika Bambaataa was back then," Savage explained about first meeting Bambaataa. He then became a crate boy for Bambaataa, carrying records to gigs for him and the two developed a close relationship. "He was a father figure to me," he added. Things changed when Bambaataa molested him for the first time in 1980. He claims he abused him at least four or five more times.
Both of the other victims, Hassan Campbell, and a man who is identified as Troy, recall similar accounts of growing up in the Bronx River Houses and meeting Bambaataa through neighborhood parties. They also claim that the decades of abuse was common knowledge that was covered up by the Zulu Nation.
"Bam took the kids who were struggling—the kids who didn't have good parents and had nothing," one longtime DJ associate of Bambaataa's revealed. "It's all about the money. These guys [in Zulu Nation] are on the payroll—doing security, carrying equipment. A lot of them have felony records. They can't get other jobs. They needed that paycheck. So they would keep quiet."
Zulu Nation, the hip hop awareness organization Bambaataa founded that initially denied the claims, later publicly apologized to Savage and the other alleged victims in a second statement."To the survivors of apparent sexual molestation by Bambaataa, both those who have come forward and others who have not, we are sorry for what you endured and extend our thanks to those who have spoken out for your bravery in bringing to light that which most of us were sadly unaware of, and others chose not to disclose."
In the wake of Savage's initial claims, Bambaataa went on the record with Rolling Stone, calling the accusations "baseless" and denouncing the claims as a "cowardly attempt to tarnish my reputation and legacy in hip-hop at this time." However, the hip-hop legend's current whereabouts are unknown. You can read the full interview here.