Yes, Afrika Bambaataa is a living legend in the culture that we call Hip Hop. Yes, Afrika Bambaataa helped save the lives of frustrated youth throughout New York in the 70's and early 80's. Yes, Afrika Bambaataa influenced a generation with his music and the Universal Zulu Nation Movement. Yes, I loved Planet Rock and Looking For The Perfect Beat as well. Yes, I respected everything about Afrika Bambaataa like any other Hip Hop purest. Yes, when Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest) and other members of the Native Tongues (Plenty other Rap Acts) started endorsing ZULU Nation, it made me respect it and research it's values. I know Afrika Bambaataa used parties, break dancing and history to promote positive change. Yes, you could have considered Afrika Bambaataa as one of the people on Hip Hop's Mt. Rushmore. Yes, all of these things stood true until last year.
No, Afrika Bambaataa does not get a pass because he is BLACK or his status. No, Afrika Bambaataa can no longer be held in the same context as Run DMC, Kurtis Blow, LL Cool J and other legends. Afrika Bambaataa's legendary pass has been revoked. Many past supporters have been quiet since the allegations of sexual abuse hit the media. In early 2016, Ronald Savage, a Political Activist went public stating that he was molested by Afrika Bambaataa in 1980. He was 15 at the time. This hit the hip hop world like a Tornado. Several more Men would follow with similar stories. KRS-One received a lot of heat for his support of Bambaata on a Podcast called Drink Champs about 7-8 months ago. KRS stated that regardless of the controversy, his place and contribution to the culture can't be removed or denied. I beg to differ. Along with DJ Hool Herc and DJ Jazzy Jay, he was considered one of Hip Hop's Founding Fathers. Sorry KRS, he can't hold that title anymore. This reminded me of Dwight York (Dr. Malachi York) who had the Nuwaubian Nation (Movement). He had a large following and teaching. He is serving life in Prison for Child Molestation and other crimes. These type of dudes have all of this influence but appear no different than some Catholic Priest.
I have worked with kids for over 20 years (as a profession and mentoring) so my take is going to be very direct. Afrika Bambaataa is a criminal if these allegations are true. Where there is smoke, there is fire. It was a little over a year to this day that Zulu Nation removed him as their leader. Did the Zulu Nation know about any of this before it went public? It's like when Elijah Muhammad was having kids by those teenage girls 5 decades ago. Did the NOI know this over the years but kept it quiet? If you know crimes are being committed but you follow a person's movement, you share some responsibility. Afrika Bambaataa is a disgrace to Hip Hop and to our people. Any adult who take advantage of kids will never get sympathy from me. I noticed a lot of his supporters who generally talk real loud got real quiet around these allegations. This was the perfec time to bring more awareness in regard to child abuse, sexual abuse and the exploitation our kids often face from predators. It's like fans of R. Kelly. You see the tape but support his concerts. You know, we love to justify supporting an artist if we enjoy their craft. I was going to do an extended BLOG but will keep it short & sweet, Afrika Bambaataa is an embarrassment to our culture because even it's not true, a man in his position should have used better judgement. This story went to the hip hop graveyard too fast so I felt the need to resurrect it. We have a responsibility to our kids. In conclusion, I feel bad for any person who has ever been taken advantage of, especially when it's by the ones that should protect you.
PS: We don't address this in the Black Community the way we should..I'm talking sexual abuse..
A shame that this is one of the songs that introduced me to Hip Hop....smh