In a move that demonstrates how seriously the United Zulu Nation (UZN) is taking allegations of sexual abuse against its co-founder and Hip-Hop pioneer, Afrika Bambaataa, the organization has announced Afrika Bambaataa and “ALL accused parties and those accused of covering up the current allegations of child molestation have been removed and have stepped down from their current positions.” The statement was posted earlier today (May 6), on UZN’s website.
This is the most decisive move yet by the organization after the allegations began to garner widespread attention in March. It was in that month that Ronald Savage, a New York City public servant, appeared on Shot 97, and disclosed vivid and disturbing details about sexual abuse he alleges he suffered at the hands of Bambaataaa in the 1970s, when Savage was a teenage boy. Since then 3 other alleged victims have spoken out against Bambaataa and, earlier this week, his former bodyguard accused him of molesting “hundreds” of boys.
The Universal Zulu Nation’s release is a significant change from their initial statement regarding the matter, which read, in part, “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.” The announcement today seeks to address the internal struggle the organization has faced, while also being sensitive to any potential victims. “As an organization we are in a very difficult position because we are being asked to condemn one of our founders based on testimony through social media alone. We cannot do this. We also cannot dismiss the comments of parties asserting they have been harmed. We have a duty to search for truth. We also need to be mindful that if these allegations are true that victims discussing this in a public forum has not come easily. We the Universal Zulu Nation wish to extend great sympathy to anyone affected by such issues. We know that respect and compassion need to be at the forefront of how we deal with such topics in the future, this has been a lesson in learning for us,” the statement reads.
UZN also makes great efforts to separate their organization, and the good that it does, from some of the individuals who comprised it, saying “We are saddened by current events. Not only because of the trial by social media of which we have been subjected to as an organization, but because until now the previous leaders and founders have been ineffective at being able to respond in a way which our members and associates deserve of us. Especially when our good work spreading the Zulu message has empowered communities worldwide. We would like to offer our sincere apologies for this.” This comes on the heels of KRS-One making similar clarifying remarks after he came under attack for comments he made regarding the allegations against Bambaataa.
The Universal Zulu Nation’s statement closes with a plea to the public for help in resolving the matter, stating “The public is asking for justice and we would welcome constructive suggestions on how that could be effectuated properly. At the moment it is unclear on how best to proceed, we would like to know how the claimants would like to take the matters further towards some form of resolution where the truth can be established.”