Afrika Bambaataa / photo via Wikimedia Commons
Last week, the New York Daily News interviewed political activist and former music industry executive Ronald Savage about accusations that he had been sexually abused on multiple occasions by Afrika Bambaataa, the famed DJ who helped pioneer the spread of hip-hop in the early 80s with songs like "Planet Rock." Since that article's publication, three more men have stepped forward with stories of their own, the Daily News reported over the weekend.
"I know what Ronald Savage is saying is true because he did it to me," a 50-year-old New York man who asked to remain anonymous told the Daily News. "I have never spoken to anybody about this and when I did, I said 'Holy shit, they finally caught up to him.'"
Along with that man, the other men who have stepped forward include a 51-year-old former New Yorker named Troy, who now lives in North Carolina, and a 39-year-old man named Hassan Campbell, also known by his street name, Poppy. Campbell claimed that Bambaataa provided him with food, money, and a place to crash—and that Bambaataa sexually abused him multiple times at the age of 12 or 13. "It was years," he said of the length of abuse in an interview with YouTube personality and former New York radio DJ Star.
"He is a pervert," Campbell told the Daily News. "He likes little boys." In the interview with Star, Campbell said he witnessed and was aware of similar acts—fondling, performing oral sex on young boys—ocurring with "half of Bronx River [Houses]." He added that he felt he could name at least 30 others who he was aware of being abused but that he didn't feel comfortable sharing their names out of respect for the individuals.
Campbell said Bambaataa is a "compassionate" person "in need of counseling." He described Bambaataa to Star as someone who is quick to help the people around him. He said that he came forward with the accusations previously in front of other senior members of Bambaataa's Zulu Nation and received an admission of guilt, an apology, and a promise from Bambaataa to seek counseling. That response prompted Campbell to keep his accusations private, but he said that Bambaataa never made good on his promises.
"Bam is the uncle that paid your way to college and molested you at the same time," he told Star. A call to the number listed on Bambaataa's Facebook page was not answered. Bambaataa's lawyer Vivian Kimi Tozaki issued the following statement last week following Savage's claims and has not spoken further:
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. 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.
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