Leila Wills joins the Fringe this week to discuss the allegations of child molestation brought against one of the founding fathers of Hip Hop music , Africa Bambaataa.
Leila's film, "TRAPped in a CULTure" breaks down the allegations and the Myth around the persona that is Bambaataa. We also discuss KRS - One's defense of Bambaata and similar allegations waged against R Kelly.
Movie notes below.
A year before the MeToo Movement took off, another story broke that shook the foundation of hip-hop. One of hip-hop’s founding fathers was accused of being a pedophile. Shocking allegations of child molestation against Afrika Bambaataa surfaced in 2016 when several men came forward with claims that Bambaataa and others from his organization, the Zulu Nation, had sexually abused them. The age of consent in New York is 17 and the men claim they were all underage, several were as young as twelve and thirteen. One victim in the film says he was nine years old when Bambaataa allegedly began grooming him.
Afrika Bambaataa is regarded as one of the founding fathers of hip-hop and his 1980s single, Planet Rock, is the most sampled song in hip-hop history. Once a grassroots craze in the poverty-stricken streets of the Bronx, hip-hop spread worldwide and has grown into a billion-dollar industry. With the media’s new interest in hip-hop’s origins, Bambaataa has enjoyed many honors including appearances in films, books, magazines, and even as a visiting scholar at college universities.
His organization, the Zulu Nation, is considered to be The First Family of Hip Hop and has boasted of celebrity membership for decades. Members reportedly include Ice T, Queen Latifah, A Tribe Called Quest, Mos Def, and more.
Bambaataa would later take on the title "The Amen Ra" (God) of hip-hop and the Zulu Nation transformed from a hip-hop awareness group to a quasi-religious organization. Additionally, the self-proclaimed prophet of hip-hop, KRS One, declared that "anyone who has a problem with Afrika Bambaataa should quit hip-hop."
Bambaataa denied the child sexual abuse allegations and the hip-hop community as a whole fell silent on the issue.