Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Former Cornell Hip-Hop Scholar Afrika Bambaataa

Cornell under fire to suspend relationship with the "godfather of hip-hop"

The New York Daily News reports there is a group of former alleged victims and their advocates calling on Cornell to end its relationship with hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa.

Bambaataa, credited as the “godfather of hip-hop”, was a visiting scholar from 2012 to 2015, and in March of this year the University announced it would house an archive of his materials in the Cornell University Library Hip Hop Collection. The move was made possible by a $260,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

According to the press release, “The grant will help the Cornell Hip Hop Collection (CHHC), part of the library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, to make these materials widely accessible to researchers, students and the public.”

The original report from the New York Daily News reads:

“If Cornell accepts anything from Bambaataa, that’s like it is telling the world it supports child molesters,” says Ronald Savage, a former music industry executive and Bronx Democratic Party activist. Savage is one of four men who told the Daily News they were sexually abused by the music icon when they were teens.

Meanwhile, radio DJ Troi (Star) Torain started a petition this week that asks Cornell to sever its ties to Bambaataa until the allegations made by Savage and the other men are resolved.

Bambaataa, whose 1982 hit “Planet Rock” helped turn hip-hop into an international art form, joined forces with Cornell in 2012, when the university appointed the music legend to a three-year term as a visiting scholar.

According to the article, Cornell reps declined to comment.

In the article Torain is quoted saying, “I’m asking Cornell to show some respect about these allegations. Just because these allegations were made by men of color doesn’t mean you can ignore them.”