In early April, former music producer and politician Ronald Savage claimed hip hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa sexually abused him as a teen during an interview with the New York Daily News. One week later, three other men also accused Bambaattaa of sexual abuse. Bambaataa denied the allegations and said he “never abused anybody” during an interview with Fox 5 in May.
Zulu Nation, the hip hop awareness organization Bambaataa formed in the late 1970s, initially denied the sexual abuse claims in a statement to the Daily News. They called Savage “mentally challenged” and said “the N.Y. Daily News and its so-called objective reporters have been compromised and controlled by U.S. government intelligence.”
But on Tuesday, the same group apologized to Savage and the other alleged victims in another statement sent to the Daily News. “We extend our deepest and most sincere apologies to the many people who have been hurt by the actions of Afrika Bambaataa and the subsequent poor response of our organization to allegations leveled against him,” the statement, which was signed by nearly three dozen Zulu Nation members, said. The organization promised to educate its members about sexual abuse and to do what they can to seek justice for the alleged victims.
Zulu King EL One, the Zulu Nation’s coordinator for the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut area, told the Daily News that the initial statement came from Bambaataa’s friends and didn’t represent the majority of Zulu Nation’s opinions. “Most of the membership would like to hear what the victims have to say,” Zulu King EL One said.
Savage spoke with the Daily News and said the apology is “too little too late.” He also said Zulu Nation “should have done this in the beginning.”
Zulu Nation, Afrika Bambaataa, Ronald Savage, and Zulu King EL One did not immediately return Complex’s request for comment.