Afrika Bambaataa Accused Of Molestation By Bronx Politician
Afrika Bambaataa is one of Hip-Hop’s pioneers. The 58 year-old Bronx, New Yorker born Kevin Donovan is credited with co-founding the Universal Zulu Nation in 1973. In the 43 years since, Afrika Bambaataa has made hit Hip-Hop records such as 1982’s “Planet Rock” (with the Soulsonic Force), he has spoken at numerous education institutions, and performed as a DJ across the globe in an effort to promote his Hip-Hop tenants: “peace, unity, love, and having fun.” In the last year, Hip-Hop legends such as KRS-One and Crazy Legs have advocated that Bam’ be re-considered as an even more pivotal pioneer in Hip-Hop culture’s inception.
However, one Bronx, New York native has come forth to accuse Afrika Bambaataa of molesting him as a child, as initially reported by HipHopDX. Ronald Savage is a prominent figure in the borough. Savage is currently a judicial delegate in the 12th Judicial District in the Bronx, and a former New York State Democratic Committeeman. The single father of three is also a US Press Association journalist, and author. Further, Savage describes himself as a former music industry member. In his Amazon writer’s bio, Savage credits himself as having worked with Doug E. Fresh and Showbiz & A.G., among others.
In 2014, Ronald Savage self-published his second book, Impulse Urges And Fantasies: Life Is a Bag of Mixed Emotions, Vol. 1. In discussing his memoir and life, Savage was a guest on Star’s (a/k/a Troi Torain) Shot97 show. Star, also an author, was a longtime host of the syndicated Star & Bucwild Show, which was broadcast from New York City’s HOT 97 and Power 105, as well as other stations. In a two-part phone interview published March 29, Star asked Ronald Savage about his claims, and his history with Afrika Bambaataa and the Universal Zulu Nation.
Ronald Savage describes his relationship with Afrika Bambaataa beginning in approximately 1977. At the time of the alleged molestation, Savage says he was between the ages of 12 and 14, attending junior high school in the Bronx.
“It took me this long to actually get this out and really talk about it freely,” begins an emotional Ronald Savage. “I wanted to be down with the in-crowd, not really understanding that what [Afrika] Bambaataa was doing to me was actually molesting me. I knew it was wrong. I just had these feelings that was like, ‘yuck.’ Over the years, as I was getting older, I wanted to report this. I wanted to come forward. Out of fear of the [Universal] Zulu Nation, out of fear for my family, fear for me, fear of anything that can possibly happen, [I did not]. I was ashamed [and] embarrassed because things like this usually happen to women—to girls. Guys don’t really talk about it.”
Until the closing of his aforementioned memoir, Ronald Savage refers to Afrika Bambaataa as “DJ Battle.” Star presses Savage about that choice, given the seriousness of the claims. “I don’t really even like to say Bambaataa’s name, you know, ’cause of the things that he’s done to me. It was uncomfortable [for me] writing the book, [but less so] using the name ‘DJ Battle’ as his name. That way, I can really get everything out about what happened to me with Bam’, and things that happened to me.”
Star asks the judicial delegate to share with the public what exactly transpired between him and the considerably older Bambaataa in the late 1970s. At the time, Savage says he was introduced to the Universal Zulu Nation by his sister’s boyfriend. In joining the Zulus and being given the name “Bee-Stinger,” he says he met the Hip-Hop pioneer.”The very first time that this ever happened to me, I was in school and I was cutting. I needed a place to go, so I called Bambaataa [to see] if I could go and hang out at his house. I had no knowledge of none of the stuff [sic] that Bam’ does. When I went over to Bam’s house, he had me go over to his room. I was watching television. That’s when Bam’ came over and he had took his penis out he had started jerking it off—masturbating. [Then] he asked me to do it. I’m looking at him like, ‘What?’ He told me that it was okay. At that time, I have this [famous] guy: Afrika Bambaataa [of] the Zulu Nation…I was confused. I really didn’t know what to do, but I wanted to be down. So I did take it out and Bam’ told me to jerk it. I didn’t know what ‘jerk it’ meant at that time. So he actually jerked it for me.”
Savage further reflects, “I remember me being scared. I remember him, after that, leaving out of the bedroom. Then another guy came in the bedroom and he took his penis out. I remember getting up off of the bed and getting out of the house. I remember running. I remember a lady on the highway stopping her car. I got into her car. I remember crying and I told the lady what happened; she dropped me off at my school. That was the first time that that had happened.”
Further in the first segment of the interview, Star asks if this was an isolated incident. Savage later says he estimates that sexual misconduct allegedly happened more than five times. “I remember [a separate] incident of this happening in Bam’s car. We were by Castle Hill—that’s where I used to live, Castle Hill. It was in his car.” After recounting manual sex in the car, Savage continues, “He ended up making me go down on him. I was scared. At the same time, I was confused. I don’t know. From there, it happened many other times of him coming to my house. He came to my house multiple times. The thing that I most remember is him—and it’s what really bothers me…it’s been bothering me for so long to where I used to…when people touched me, it was just a weird touch. It all stemmed from I remember him having me lay down on the bed. I [was told I] had to cross my legs, and him putting his penis in between my legs, pumping up and down.” At this point in the interview, a deeply emotional Ronald Savage appears to be sobbing.
Star asks if Savage ever initiated the contact with Zulu Nation co-founder. “No. Bam’ would contact me. He would call me at my house to tell me that he was coming over. It’s not like I was calling him to come over. Come on. He pursued me.”
Further in the interview, Savage recalls an alleged incident with Afrika Bambaataa involving himself and another male minor affiliated with the Universal Zulu Nation. “This is why I didn’t know who to turn to [or] who to trust.” Savage recalls performing oral sex on the fellow minor in Bambaataa’s presence. “A lot of this is blacked out because I was trying to forget about it. So I don’t exactly know how many occurrences it actually happened, but it had to be five or more.” Star asks when the molestation ended. “I honestly don’t remember the time-frame.” As Savage recalls, he is the one who stopped contact with the DJ. “I stopped answering my door for Bam’ when he came over. At some point in time when I was younger, I just altogether stopped hanging out with the Zulu Nation, when I was younger.” The other prominent figure mentioned in the interview by Savage is DJ Jazzy Jay, who was a prominent turntablist. Savage says he was friends with Jay, who was allegedly unaware of what was happening behind closed doors. “When Bam’ would come to the stage to DJ, I would leave the stage. I didn’t want to be around him, and I didn’t know who to turn to.” Star then asks if Afrika Bambaataa performed sex acts on the pubescent boy. “He went down on me, yes.”
Later in the conversation, Ronald Savage reveals telling a family member. Star asks why Savage’s mother and guardian was not concerned with the adult male coming to their home. “When I go to be 20, 21, I did finally tell my mother. She asked me why I didn’t tell her this when I was younger, because she would’ve had Bambaataa arrested. My thing, outta my fear for [my family] and fear for myself, that’s why I didn’t say anything. Even me coming forward now, I’m afraid.”
Reflecting on his life since the 1970s molestation, Ronald Savage confesses “I went through depression. I tried to commit suicide over this thing.”
Here, Star reveals that he has contacted multiple channels of the Zulu Nation for comment. The radio veteran says he attempted correspondence with Minister of Information of Universal Zulu Nation Quadeer Shakur. “I reached out to him twice on Twitter, via [direct messaging]. I sent an email—no response. I did get a response from the Zulu Nation [United Kingdom] chapter 10 minutes after I sent them a Twitter DM. They said they would forward the information to the proper channels. But to this point right now, [I have received] no response from the Minister of Information.”
While the alleged molestation ended in the 1970s, Ronald Savage recalls a 2015 exchange with Afrika Bambaataa. “The last time I remember seeing Bam’ was at Central Park. He was supposed to perform, DJ.” He continues, “I seen ‘Bam. I didn’t speak to him. I just walked past him. He said what’s up to me, but I just don’t feel comfortable talking to him. I don’t like being around him. I remember [that] I left [the event] because Bam’ was there.”
Near the end of part 2 of the interview, Ronald Savage reveals that he is using his claims to take action. “Today I had spoken with a member of the New York City Council. I had told her before what happened to me, but was not ready to [go public].” He elaborates, “I told her that it’s unfair that I can’t bring charges to Bambaataa because of the statute of limitations. I want to be able to fight to make sure that there are no statutes of [limitations]. Because people who have not been a victim cannot say how many years it should be before you come forth. I’m just coming forth now, and I’m able to talk about.”
Savage says that while the Universal Zulu Nation did not respond to Star, he has been contacted to have a sit-down with the man he is accusing. Ronald says that before traveling, Afrika Bambaataa reportedly wanted to arrange the meeting the same day that the interview recorded. “He’s willing to reach out to me. But I felt if I would have went to this meeting before I get my story [out publicly], I probably would have never told the story, because they would have convinced me not to. At this point in time, it took this long to come forth, so I needed [telling the story] to happen [before considering a meeting].”
Afrika Bambaataa and the Universal Zulu Nation have not commented publicly at Ronald Savage’s claims at press time.