Al Pereira/WireImageAfrika Bambaataa, one of the architects of hip-hop, is being accused of sexual abuse by a man who says the music legend abused him when he was just a teen.
Ronald Savage tells the New York Daily News that the abuse occurred in 1980, when he was 15. Two years later, Bambaataa, already a local New York legend, helped popularize rap worldwide with his hit “Planet Rock.” Savage, now 50, tells the Daily News that in the years that followed, he struggled with suicidal thoughts and other issues until he finally broke his silence with a self-published memoir.
“I want him to know how much he damaged me growing up,” Savage tells the New York Daily News. I was just a child. Why did he take my innocence away? Why did he do this to me?”
According to Savage, the abuse occurred at least five times, but he didn’t go to the police at the time. However, he has confided over the years in his mother, his ex-wife and former girlfriends, he says.
Savage is now coming forward, he says, because he wants to change New York’s statute of limitations, which currently stops child sex abuse victims from seeking justice after the age of 23. He says he wants to help other adults who may be going through the same thing that’s tortured him for years.
“I think the statute of limitations is unfair for victims,” he tells the paper. “It took me all of these years to speak about this. I was embarrassed. I was ashamed.”
Bamaataa’s lawyer has denied the charges, telling the New York Daily News that Savage’s book contains “defamatory statements” which “show a reckless disregard for the truth, were published with knowledge of their falsity, and are being made by a lesser-known person seeking publicity.”
Chuck Freeze, a former musical collaborator of Bambaataa’s, was friendly with Savage during the time in question and tells the New York Daily News he was unaware of the alleged abuse, but states that he believes Savage’s story.
Quadeer Shakur, the so-called “minister of information” for Bambaataa’s hip-hop organization, Zulu Nation, has threatened to sue Savage for defamation. He issued a cease-and-desist order last month, claiming Savage made up the claims to boost sales of his book.
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