For the first time since Bronx judicial delegate, and former New York State Democratic Committeeman, Ronald Savage accused Hip-Hop pioneer and co-founder of the Universal Zulu Nation, Afrika Bambaataa, of sexually molesting him in the 1970s, as a teenage boy, Bambaataa has spoken out against the claims. In a statement to Rolling Stone, while not mentioning Savage by name, Bambaataa says:
“I, Afrika Bambaataa, want to take this opportunity at the advice of my legal counsel to personally deny any and all allegations of any type of sexual molestation of anyone,” Bambaataa says in a statement to Rolling Stone. “These allegations are baseless and are a cowardly attempt to tarnish my reputation and legacy in hip-hop at this time. This negligent attack on my character will not stop me from continuing my battle and standing up against the violence in our communities, the violence in the nation and the violence worldwide.
In the name of the Supreme Force, who is called by many names, whom All Praise is due. Good Spiritual Human, I pray for all of you and ask in returns your prayers, and let us all do what we must to help change our ways on how we treat each other in evilness, to respect and love for each other as Humans Beings. May Peace and Blessings be upon each and everyone of you. Who would stand up to save us and our planet with so much chaos going on? Peace, Love, Honor and Respect to all.”
Savage first made his claims public in his 2014 self-published book, Impulse Urges And Fantasies: Life Is a Bag of Mixed Emotions, Vol. 1. However, it was when he spoke about them in detail in an interview with radio-personality, Star, that was uploaded on March 29 of this year, that his story began to circulate widely. According to Savage, the molestation took place between the years 1977 and 1979, when he was between the ages of 12 and 14.
Since the allegations surfaced, there have been a number of developments. On April 1, the Universal Zulu Nation issued a strong statement denying Savage’s claims, saying “Once again rumors, lies and outright slander have been aimed at Afrika Bambaataa and the Universal Zulu Nation. First of all this attack not only is defamation and assassination of character it is a diversion and attention shift tactic designed to counter all the positive works of the Universal Zulu Nation.” A week later on April 8, Bambaataa’s attorney, Vivian K. Tozaki, also released a statement asserting “The statements show a reckless disregard for the truth, were published with knowledge of their falsity, and are being made by a lesser-known person seeking publicity.”
Others have spoken out in support of Savage. In a report published by the New York Daily News on April 9, Chuck Freeze of the Jazzy Five, who worked with Bambaataa and also knew Savage during the period of his claims, said of Savage ” “Ronald was the kind of guy you could trust. You could leave money on the table and know it would be there when you got back. A really good dude. Easy to talk to. Very intelligent. We had no idea about this — and we would not have tolerated it if we did. Do I believe it? Yes, I do.”
According to All Hip-Hop, three other men have also come forward with claims that they were abused by Bambaataa. As noted in Bambaataa’s statement above, however, he is denying any and all allegations of sexual molestation of anyone.