At the end of last month, 50-year-old New York politician Ronald Savage disclosed that, during his teenage years, he was molested multiple times by hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa, the founder of the Universal Zulu Nation. Soon after the accusations were made against Bambaataa, they were denounced as "defamation and assassination of character" by a chief spokesman for the Zulu Nation. On Friday (Apr. 9), Bambaataa's attorney discarded the allegations in a similar manner, claiming they were put forth with "a reckless disregard for the truth." Savage recently sat down with the Daily News, and the publication released a piece yesterday in which he recounts his traumatic experiences of molestation, which led him to contemplate suicide and have haunted him to this day.
The in-depth piece also includes a video of Savage speaking on how he was raped by Bambaataa at age 15, when he was a new member of the Zulu Nation who went by the nickname "Bee Stinger." Bambaataa would have been 23 at the time. WARNING: the below video contains graphic depictions of sexual assault against a minor.
Also in the video, Savage explains his reasoning in publicly coming forth with the damning accusations. "I'm not looking for any compensation from Afrika Bambaataa," he said. "That's not what this is about. I never asked them for money...The only thing I wanted was this man to answer my question: Why me?"
Savage hopes that, by speaking out, he will inspire public pressure against lawmakers to extend, or do away with, the statute of limitations: "I feel, honestly, that the statute of limitations should be longer, or if not, done away with. It took me until I'm 50 to be comfortable to talk about it, to let it out. So I feel that, how can people put limitations on something you've never been through? You haven't experienced the pain, the suffering that I went through since a young teen up until now."
"And then," he continued, "for it to be told that I have up until 21 or 23 to report it, that's totally unfair. Because at that age, I had just told my parents. I wasn't ready to tell the world."
According to Savage, Bambaataa was the first person who ever touched him sexually, and from then on, he has been terrified by all forms of sexual interaction. For years, he had thought he was unable to carry out a normal relationship, which eventually caused him to consider taking his life.
Savage's story can be read in his newly self-published memoir entitled "Impulse Urges and Fantasies."