The hip-hop world was recently shaken to its core when the New York Daily News broke the story that hip-hop legend and gatekeeper Afrika Bambaataa had been accused of sexually abusing Ronald Baker in 1980 when Baker was fifteen and Bambaatta was twenty-three. Baker, now a Bronx-based political activist, first dropped the bombshell in his self-published memoir Impulse Urges and Fantasies. Bambaataa, who has been silent on the allegations since the News dropped the story on April 9 of this year, gave the following statement to Rolling Stone today:
“I, Afrika Bambaataa, want to take this opportunity at the advice of my legal counsel to personally deny any and all allegations of any type of sexual molestation of anyone. These allegations are baseless and are a cowardly attempt to tarnish my reputation and legacy in hip-hop at this time. This negligent attack on my character will not stop me from continuing my battle and standing up against the violence in our communities, the violence in the nation and the violence worldwide. In the name of the Supreme Force, who is called by many names, whom All Praise is due. Good Spiritual Human, I pray for all of you and ask in returns your prayers, and let us all do what we must to help change our ways on how we treat each other in evilness, to respect and love for each other as Humans Beings. May Peace and Blessings be upon each and everyone of you. Who would stand up to save us and our planet with so much chaos going on? Peace, Love, Honor and Respect to all.
Since dropping “Planet Rock” with Soul Sonic Force in 1982, Bambaataa has been recognized as one of hip-hop’s visionary founders. At this point, he’s a much-respected elder safeguarding the history and maintaining the integrity of the culture. To say that Baker’s allegations have sent shockwaves throughout the hip-hop world is an exercise in understatement. Bambaataa’s statement is likely only the beginning of a complicated, incendiary legal and PR narrative to come.
NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 19: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been converted to black and white.) DJ Afrika Bambaataa performs during the 2015 Guggenheim Young Collectors party supported by David Yurman at Guggenheim Museum on March 19, 2015 in New York City. Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images.