“I just want Afrika Bambaataa to get help, and I want to know why he did what he did to me;” Ronald Savage is a 50-year-old single father of three, who is one of at least four men who have accused hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa (aka Kevin Donovan) of molesting him as a teen. The founder of the world-renowned Universal Zulu Nation has denied all accusations.
When the online radio DJ Troi “Star” Torain and the Daily News made the child molestation claims public, the UZN brushed off the story as a “conspiracy” designed to defame the organization. That changed as more victims came forward. Savage of the Bronx came to the Amsterdam News this week and detailed how he met Bambaataa when he was just 15 years old and in the 9th grade, at a house in Castle Hill. Discussing in all-too graphic detail, he noted what he claimed was the first sexual encounter with the rap artist.With tears welling up, Savage (aka Bee Stinger) told the Amsterdam News that he was cutting class, and “called Bam because I didn’t have anywhere else to go. He paid for the cab. I went to his house. That’s when he lived Uptown.”
Told to go into the bedroom because the TV was on in there, Savage said that is where the assault happened. He said shock and fear overtook him. “I remember saying this is Bam,” he said. “I was confused I really did not know what to do.”
Holding nothing back, he mentioned other incidents, declaring, “I don’t know how he got me to be around him again. I remember him saying that this wouldn’t happen again. He said something that made me feel comfortable. It had to happen more than five times, in his car. He came to my house more than once.”
The details as Savage denotes them are startling and kept him living in fear.
“After it happened a few times, I remember telling myself that I wasn’t going to do it no more,” he said. “I started hating myself. I remember getting distant from [people]. I remember going to parties and going on the carrying crates, and being happy. We were like a family. But, when Bambaataa came I felt nasty. I used to leave. I just didn’t like being around him.
“He acted like it was OK, it was the norm, but it wasn’t the norm for me. I wasn’t like that. So when he says on Fox that I wasn’t in his presence—yeah—after he molested me a few times, I made sure of that.”
Reportedly, Savage and another accuser are scheduled to participate in an a “healing meeting with Bambaataa and Nation of Islam leader Min. Lois Farrakhan Monday, May 23, 2016.
“I don’t want anything from Bam,” said Savage, a former member of the New York State Democratic Committee Bronx Judicial Delegate. “I don’t want no money from Bam. The only thing I wanted from Bam was an apology, and I wanted to know why he did that to me— originally. But then he goes on the ‘Ed Lover & Monie Love Show’ and says he did not know me. Then he goes on ‘Lisa Evers Fox 5’ [and now says] he knows me. [Because] when Lord Jamar and Bam’s ex-bodyguard were interviewed, and told the world on Star’s show that Bam did know me. Ahmed Henderson is the manager for the Zulu Nation and Bambaataa, and also said on the same show that Bambaataa indeed knows me.”
It took a matter of weeks for the Supreme and World councils of the Universal Zulu Nation to officially remove founder Afrika Bambaataa as de facto head, and member. Friday, May 6 2016 , they noted, “We are publicly announcing the Official removal of Afrika Bambaataa from the Universal Zulu Nation. Based on the numerous allegations of child molestation, we as an organization cannot allow these allegations to tarnish the name and/or legacy of the Universal Zulu Nation … As a point of clarification Afrika Bambaataa has not been the leader of UZN since 1994.”
Bambaataa’s attorney, Charles Tucker, did not get back to the Amsterdam News by press time for further comment. Days ago he told other news outlet, “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. There can’t be a coverup from acts that never occurred.”
Panther-Zulu King Sadiki “Bro. Shep” Ojore Olugbala sent an open letter of apology to former UZN member Hassan “Poppy (aka Baby B.O.) Campbell stating, “After personally speaking to Zulu members that I actually know, and who now only recently spoke to me regarding their being victims of Afrika Bambaataa’s illness … I would like to offer my most sincere apologies to both you and your daughter for my publicly, and falsely accusing you as being a government agent working to destroy the Universal Zulu Nation.”
Olugbala decried the ‘double life’ of Afrika Bambaataa.”
Savage said he told his parents and sister “in my early 20s,” as part of his journey and revelation and healing. “Growing up I told people who were close to me,” he said. “I remember getting the strength and courage to get it out.”
Asked over and over in the past few weeks since the story broke why he did not say anything sooner, Savage explained, “I didn’t know who to trust. I didn’t know who was with Bam. I wanted to say something to so many people. But how do you say something like that. I didn’t know that if I did say something, would something happen to me, or my parents? Growing up Bam was very powerful back then … but, I made a promise to myself that before I die, I was going to tell the world what happened to me.”
Savage said that the effects of the alleged molestation left him scarred for decades. “Growing up I didn’t like to be touched, to hold hands,” he said. “It felt weird. It bothered me. Every girlfriend that I had told me that I didn’t know how to show affection. I always told every girlfriend that I had what happened to me. My first girlfriend was at 19. You can’t initiate touching me first. I had to touch you. I had intimacy issues.” He revealed than sometimes while being close to a girlfriend, “that image of Bam would come into my head.”
He said, “I had never done anything with a girl before, and I remember Bam, this big guy— on top of me—and that image has stayed with me. I’ve been questioning my sexuality ever since that happened. It has been on my mind every day. When I walk, I always make sure that I’m bopping. I always questioned myself.”
Savage told the Amsterdam News that he was with his former wife and mother of his three children “for 17 years, married for eight months, and then we broke up.” He further explained, “And then I was with a girl for three years. After I broke up with my last girl, I took it really bad. I started to really hating myself, because I said that if this never happened to me would I be a different person. I tried to commit suicide. I hated myself for allowing him to do what he did. I always felt that I should have done something.”
Two years ago, he said he started doing therapy. “I started wring—the good and the bad things,” he said. “And I wrote my book ‘Impulse, Urges and Fantasy’ in 2014. Bam is only a small part of the book. It is about my story.”
Thoughts of whatcoulda, woulda, shoulda been brought Savage to the revelation that has rocked the hip-hop world in the past month.
“I was thinking that I could have still been with my wife or this last girl,” he said. “I really hated myself. I started tweeting ‘Bam molested me.’ I had to get it out. It was either that or me not being here. Savage said one of Bam’s people told him to take the tweets down, and I ‘started crying because I have got to this point where I am ready to talk, and now I am being told to shut up.’ Torain [radio host] tweeted me to call him and I returned his call.”
Savage said that the response has been intense. He said that some of Bambaataa’s inner circle reached out to him, saying, “Bam wants this to go away. How much do you want?” “I said that this isn’t about money,” he said he told them. “This is about me. I have to get it out. They said ‘We’re not talking about $5,000. We’re talking about $50,000.’”
He told them he was not interested.
This story is not new news, said Savage. Of the inner circle he said, “Of course they knew. How can you be around Bam, and not know? They knew 100 percent. When people said they heard rumors, as fast as those rumors came up, they went away. If you could offer me money, they could offer them money. If you was eating off of someone and that person was giving you money, you wouldn’t want to jeopardize that.”
He said he was “told to retract the story.” He added, “And they told me what to say in my retraction, because they didn’t want to see anything to happen to me. I took that as a threat. But, I didn’t do it.”
Support in the streets is thorough. Savage said, “The people tell me that they are with me, they tell me that I am hero. People call and text me and say that they too were molested—not Bam, just generally. But, other Zulu and Gestapo members tell me that they were approached by Bam.
“I want to help other victims from all over the world—not just from Bam. There is a stigma of males being molested. I was molested when I was 15. I want to bring awareness that males get molested, too, because no one wants to talk about that. The therapy and depression pills helped me talk about it. If you were molested get therapy. I didn’t get it until 2014. I wish I had got it sooner. It’s funny, because I can hold hands now. I snuggle now.”