Editorial note: The following article refers to multiple instances of sexual assault, trafficking and coercion.
Legendary hip-hop rapper and DJ Afrika Bambaataa and the Zulu Nation are reportedly being sued for child sex trafficking, according to a new lawsuit.
Per Okayplayer, in a report by Chicago’s Metropolis Newspaper, an unnamed accuser filed a suit last month against the hip-hop icon in which he alleged Bambaataa sexually abused and repeatedly prostituted him to other men for four years beginning when he was 12 years old. The suit also claims that a majority of the assaults took place at Bambaataa’s Bronx River home, which also served as The Zulu Nation’s headquarters at the time.
This new suit marks the fourth time in the last five years that the hip-hop pioneer has been accused of sexual abuse. As previously reported by The Root, Ronald Savage was the first to come forward in 2016; he described an initial sexual assault by Bambaataa in disturbing detail during an interview with the New York Daily News. Not too long after, three more men recounted similar stories of alleged sexual abuse at the hands of Bambaataa which reportedly started when they were also children. At the time, the “Planet Rock” rapper denied any and all allegations in a statement, while the Zulu Nation issued a lengthy letter apologizing to the accusers and have since distanced themselves from their former leader.
Though Bambaataa himself has yet to comment on this new lawsuit, on Wednesday, the Zulu Nation once again gave an official statement in light of the news:
The Overall Mission, Purpose, Goals & Objectives Of The Universal Zulu Nation-World Department Of Community Affairs; Is To Use Socially Conscious Grassroot Hip Hop Culture As A (R)evolutionary Tool For Global Humanism, Inner/Over/Understanding, Liberation, Self-Determination, Peace, Health, And The Physical & Spiritual Oneness With Mother Earth.
Nothing has changed since 2016 when these decades ago accusations first surfaced. This is a personal matter for Afrika Bambaataa and his lawyers to deal with and has absolutely nothing to do with the 10 year long UZN-DOCA mission, programs and projects which continue in the revolutionary legacy of both The Black Panther Party & The Young Lords Party to “Serve The People, Body & Soul.”
If anyone is truly interested in all of the positive work that the UZN-DOCA does then we will be more than happy to address any of our below Community Survival Programs:
Free Food Project ~ Free The Land Farms & Urban Gardens Project ~ Martial Arts & Self-Defense Project ~ Emergency Preparedness Project ~
Healing & Health Projects ~ Anti-Police Terror & Community Control Over The Police Campaign ~ Children’s Rights Of Passage Program ~
Prisoner Advocacy & Free All Political Prisoners Projects ~ Black, Brown & Asian Solidarity Project ~ International Hip Hop 4 Humanity Tour ~
The Young Fathers Support Circle ~ Youth Sports ~ Black Panther Party Legacy Political Education Classes ~ Housing & Legal First Aid.
But we will neither make nor provide any further comments or responses regarding the aforementioned legal matter.
This news comes a little over a week after the first male accuser took the stand in the long-awaited sex trafficking trial of R. Kelly, which just entered its third week in Brooklyn federal court. The disgraced R&B singer is also being accused of numerous crimes and behaviors which range from rape and sexual and physical abuse to sexual coercion, trafficking and racketeering. Kelly has also been accused of enforcing restrictive and isolating rules—coined by his “girlfriends” and past employees as “Rob’s Rules”—which included fierce punishment if not followed. Several have testified that he also frequently demanded them to write letters including false statements intended to be incriminating or publicly humiliating if released.
As the Daily Beast reports, Kelly’s patterns of behavior are similar to those of the “self-help group” NXIVM and its founder, Keith Raniere, who was convicted of sex trafficking of children, conspiracy, and conspiracy to commit forced labor in June 2019 and sentenced to 120 years in prison in October 2020. Both legal and mental health experts have been able to comparably identify coercion, intimidation, and abuse tactics used by Kelly and Raniere, which could provide precedent for the singer’s final ruling.
More from the Daily Beast:
In Kelly’s ongoing trial, prosecutors allege that the Grammy-winning singer was at the helm of a criminal enterprise—made up of his drivers, bodyguards, and assistants—that took extraordinary steps to ensure that every one of his desires was satisfied.
The argument is fundamental to the federal racketeering case against the singer, a statute commonly referred to by the acronym RICO—and often reserved for mafia bosses. The same racketeering charge was employed in the prosecution of Raniere, where Brooklyn prosecutors stated the NXIVM leader was at the helm of a criminal enterprise made up of those at the top of the organization.
It later continued: “Moira Penza, the former Brooklyn federal prosecutor who won a conviction against Raniere, told The Daily Beast that when trying to use the RICO charges for these types of alleged perpetrators, it’s essential to prove individuals’ pattern of behavior was aided by underlings. ‘One of the ways you do that is to show that the criminal acts had similar means and methods of commission,’ she said. ‘By showing that the same rules, rituals, and debasement were used to victimize different girls and young women over time, and that different members of R. Kelly’s inner circle helped employ those methods, the prosecutors can prove that this was a criminal organization—not just a bad man acting on his own—engaged in a pattern of criminal activity.’ To put it simply, prosecutors need to show that not only did Kelly—like Raniere—need these bizarre rules to exercise power, but that his wishes were carried out.”
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault or trafficking, the National Sexual Assault Hotline (www. rainn.org/1-800-656-4673) can provide 24-hour assistance.