Hip Hop veteran and DJ, Afrika Bambaataa has been plagued with allegations of sexual assault and abuse. He is known as the DJ from South Bronx, who helped revolutionize the sound of of the merging Hip Hop genre in the 1970s and 1980s. His song, Planet Rock with Soulsonic Force helped influence the sound of early Hip Hop. He founded Universal Zulu Nations to help preserve Hip Hop culture and carry on it’s legacy. However, it isn’t his music that is gaining the attention of the public; it is sexual abuse allegations against him that people are addressing. Thus it is important to discuss and find ways to punish these sexual predators and help victims of sexual abuse cope with what they went through in the past.
In Match 2016, a fifty year old man named Ronald Savage, who was a member of the Zulu Nation in the 1980s, opened up about being molested by Afrika Bambaataa in an interview with a radio DJ at Hot 97. This man wrote a book, Impulse, Urges and Fantasies where he detailed his abuse from Afrika Bambaataa when he was a teenager. Since then, more men have come forward to talk about being sexually abused by Afrika Bambaataa. Even a former bodyguard has spoken in solidarity with his victims. Members of the Zulu Nation has since removed him from their organization and disassociated themselves from Afrika Bambaataa. The Zulu Nation is now under leadership of the International and Regional U.S. Zulu Leaders and are finding ways to better serve Black communities across the nation.
The public indictment of Afrika Bambaataa doesn’t come as a surprise to me. There has been a number of well known people, whose actions have resulted in them being ostracized or ousted by the public. Often times, it takes years for an abuser to be identified and face repression for their actions. Many sexual assault victims fear that they wouldn’t be believed if they speak out against their abuse. Or that they will be blamed for their own abuse. As more people speak up about their experiences of being sexually abused, the topic of sexual abuse gains more attention in society. Unfortunately, sexual abuse is a major problem in the Black collective that needs to be addressed.
There are incidents of sexual abuse in every race, culture and country across the globe. Sexual abuse is not exclusive to the Black Community however it is a major problem in the Black Community. According to the US Department of Justice statistics, one in four girls are sexually assaulted before their eighteenth birthday and one in six boys are sexually assaulted before their eighteenth birthday. The statistics is even worse for Black women and girls. Statistics show that 60% of Black girls have experienced some form of sexual assault, whether it be street harassment, fondling on their bodies, rape or molestation etc, by the time that they are eighteen. For every White woman that reports her rape, only five of them don’t. For every Black woman that reports her rape, fifteen of them don’t. Young Black boys, as shown by Ronald Savage, also suffer with and deal with sexual abuse with predators in the Black collective. However, Black girls and children deal with the burnt of being available for sexual predators, who draw them in, manipulate them and then sexually take advantage of them. Hence, I believe that more people should address this issue in Black collective to ensure that Black children’s well being and innocence is protected from predators and other outside forces that seek to harm them.
Afrika Bambaataa’s sexual deviancy is just another layer of a larger issue-sexual abuse and assault. Many people choose to overlook this issue in the Black collective due to the fact that the ”White man” is the cause of all of the problems in our community. Systematic racism has decimated the livelihood of many Black and brown people however it is time that more Black people take responsibility for how their actions affect each other. And the rampant and problematic incidents of many Black girls and boys in the Black collective only ensures the lack of protection Black women and children have in the Black collective. Thus the importance of addressing sexual abuse in the Black collective and ensuring the protection of Black women and children is an important part of their livelihood in society.
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