After initially defending Afrika Bambaataa from allegations that he sexually assaulted underage boys, the Universal Zulu Nation has moved to distance itself from its founder. Late Friday, the hip-hop organization announced a leadership change and a move “to work towards providing support for victims of abuse, rape, and molestation.”
“As part of this restructure ALL accused parties and those accused of covering up the current allegations of child molestation have been removed and have stepped down from their current positions,” the Zulu Nation announced in a statement on its website. The announcement does not mention Bambaataa or his accusers by name.
“As an organization we are in a very difficult position because we are being asked to condemn one of our founders based on testimony through social media alone,” the Zulu Nation statement continues. “We cannot do this. We also cannot dismiss the comments of parties asserting they have been harmed. We have a duty to search for truth.”
In a statement to Rolling Stone, Bambaataa lawyer Charles Tucker Jr. said, “Bambaataa has not been part of the leadership for years. At the end of day we still have unsubstantiated claims from alleged victims who all have seemed to be more focused on self promotion, sensationalism, revenge, and some form of payment.”
Four men, beginning with 50-year-old Bronx politician Ronald Savage, have accused the prominent hip-hop icon of sexually abusing them in the 1980s. Bambaataa has denied the claims. New York’s controversial statue of limitations requires people who say they were sexually abused as minors to come forward before age 23, so Bambaataa is unlikely to face charges.
Read the Universal Zulu Nation statement in its entirety below.
The Universal Zulu Nation wishes to announce that it is currently under new leadership by the International and Regional U.S. Zulu Leaders. This will involve a significant restructure and will feature an in-depth re-assessment of how the organization will function to better serve our communities. As part of this restructure ALL accused parties and those accused of covering up the current allegations of child molestation have been removed and have stepped down from their current positions.
Over the coming months there will be significant changes to the organization in terms of roles, structure and establishing the policies any organization of our size should have in place. There shall also be a new move to work towards providing support for victims of abuse, rape and molestation and working more closely on other social issues existing in communities such as drug addiction, alcoholism and mental health.
We are saddened by current events. Not only because of the trial by social media of which we have been subjected to as an organization, but because until now the previous leaders and founders have been ineffective at being able to respond in a way which our members and associates deserve of us. Especially when our good work spreading the Zulu message has empowered communities worldwide. We would like to offer our sincere apologies for this.
As an organization we are in a very difficult position because we are being asked to condemn one of our founders based on testimony through social media alone. We cannot do this. We also cannot dismiss the comments of parties asserting they have been harmed. We have a duty to search for truth. We also need to be mindful that if these allegations are true that victims discussing this in a public forum has not come easily. We the Universal Zulu Nation wish to extend great sympathy to anyone affected by such issues. We know that respect and compassion need to be at the forefront of how we deal with such topics in the future, this has been a lesson in learning for us.
The public is asking for justice and we would welcome constructive suggestions on how that could be effectuated properly. At the moment it is unclear on how best to proceed, we would like to know how the claimants would like to take the matters further towards some form of resolution where the truth can be established. We can not legally speak on behalf of the parties in question in regard to the current allegations. Individuals must speak up for themselves & advice from their legal teams should be sought.
Our restructure is a positive step towards organizational change for our worldwide family of members and the great community programs they continually run which spread the message of Peace, Love, Unity and Having Fun.
To communicate with us during this time of transition please email us at [email protected]
International and Regional US Zulu Leaders
Universal Zulu Nation