Hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa abused, sex trafficked 12-year-old, lawsuit alleges

The victim claims that in addition to being sexually assaulted by Bambaataa, he was also sent to different locations to have sex with adult men while Bambaataa watched

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Afrika Bambaataa, a legendary hip-hop pioneer, has been sued by a man who claims he was sexually abused and prostituted by him as a minor.

The victim, who has remained anonymous, filed the lawsuit last month in New York asserting that Bambaataa started sexually abusing him at the age of 12 from 1991 to 1995. He claims that the musician would take him to different locations where other adult men also abused him.

Bambaataa, whose real name is Lance Taylor, would have been 33 or 34 during the time of the assaults.

Afrika Bambaataa - theGrio.com
Hip hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa is accused of sexually assaulting a young boy, in a fifth public allegation made since 2016. The man claims that the hip hop pioneer sexually assaulted him for four years, and trafficked him to other adult men. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images 2006)

The lawsuit states that the victim, identified only as John Doe, suffered “physical injury, severe and permanent emotional distress, mental anguish, depression and embarrassment” due to Bambaataa’s alleged assault and gross negligence. 

Although Bambaataa has not commented on this lawsuit, he previously stated that he “never abused nobody,” when similar allegations surfaced in 2016. 

The victim is calling for a jury trial and for compensatory damages.

Bambaataa, who is known for founding the first hip-hop organization Zulu Nation, has been accused of sexually assaulting young boys several times over the past decade.

The first story broke in 2016 when Bronx native and political activist Ronald Savage accused the musician of molesting him when he was 15.

Savage said that he was a young kid excited to hang out with the Zulu Nation within the burgeoning hip-hop scene of the Bronx, when a 23-year-old Bambaataa started to molest him in 1980. He said he was assaulted at least five times, but never went to the police.

“I want him to know how much he damaged me growing up,” Savage told the NY Daily News 36 years after the alleged incident. “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.”

Bambaataa vehemently denied the allegations in an interview with Fox 5 News during that time, claiming that “it just sounds crazy for people to say that.”

However, Chuck Freeze, a member of the Jazzy Five who performed with Bambaataa and knew Savage, said that Savage was no liar. “Ronald was the kind of guy you could trust,” said Freeze.

At least three more men also came forward around that time, alleging that Bambaataa abused them while they were teenagers. They claim that the abuse was well known in the Bronx community before the 1970s and that members of the Zulu Nation were also aware.

Another victim, Hassan Campbell, claims that he was 13 when Bambaataa began showing him pictures of nude men engaging in sexual activity. Their interactions allegedly escalated to Bambaataa touching the young boy and they eventually engaged in oral sex.

“This was an ongoing thing for several years,” Campbell went on to say. He eventually “broke away” in his late teens.

The allegations eventually led to Bambaataa stepping down as the head of the Zulu Nation. The organization also distanced itself from its founder. In a letter signed by almost three-dozen members, the organization apologized to the victims for their poor response to the situation.

The most recent John Doe came forward about the abuse when he told his mother about it in his early 30s.

The New York Child Victim Act, a law passed in 2019, extended the statue of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse and enabled the victim to file his lawsuit now.

According to the lawsuit, Bambaataa “eventually encouraged [Doe] to watch pornographic videos while in [Bambaataa]’s apartment,” which “progressed to mutual masturbation… and sodomy.” 

Bambaataa would then traffick Doe to other men and watch as Doe was sexually abused by other adult men, according to the filing.

In the filings, the Zulu Nation, Universal Zulu Nation and XYZ Corp are listed as entities that provided Bambaataa “with access to children, including Plaintiff, despite knowing that he would likely use their position to groom and to sexually abuse them.”

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