Recently, rap legend Afrika Bambaataa found himself at the center of a jawdropping controversy that has left many fans and followers confused and concerned. While Bambaataa, born Kevin Donovan in the South Bronx, New York, is best known for having started the conscious hip hop collective Universal Zulu Nation and spitting classic verses on hip hop hits including “Planet Rock,” his newest headlines aren’t as desirable. Author and New York activist Ronald Savage, 50, is accusing Bambaataa, 58, of sexually molesting him on at least five different occasions, the first being in 1980 when Savage, then 15, became affiliated with the Zulu Nation. In his compelling, self-published memoir, Impulse Urges and Fantasies, Savage details a painful past where admiration for Bambataa and his legacy turned to manipulation and abuse.
“I was just a child,” he told the New York Daily News in an exclusive interview. “Why did he [Bambataa] take my innocence away? Why did he do this to me?”
Savage revealed that he’s coming forward after all these decades because he wants New York to change its statute of limitations. Under the statute, child sexual abuse victims can’t pursue criminal charges or civil penalties after they turn 23. Savage wants to confront Bambaataa in a court of law, so he may heal and move on.
“I want him to know how much he damaged me growing up,” said Savage to the Daily News. “People don’t understand that you are scared. You’re scared if you tell on this person, what are they going to do to you, what you’re going to do to your family,” he later added.
While Bambaataa hasn’t spoked to the media about the allegations just yet, his attorney, Vivian Kimi Tozaki, released a statement last week denying Savage’s claims. “Defamatory statements were published seeking to harm my client’s reputation so as to lower him in the estimation of the community while deterring others from associating or dealing with him,” said Tozaki referring to Savage’s book. “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.”
While many people support Savage and hope he finds peace, others share Tozaki’s opinion that Savage simply seeks publicity to boost his fledgling writing career.