Social Issues

Hip Hop’s Refusal to Face Homosexuality Comes Home to Roost

As many of you have probably heard, Hip Hop legend Afrika Bambaataa has been accused of sexually abusing multiple men when they were young boys. If you haven’t heard about the story, you can check out the gist of it here.

Here are some thoughts from CiTLR.com contributors, Kelasia and Diego in a no-holds barred conversation about this touchy subject.

*The opinions expressed here are that of the writers and not CiTLR.com *

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Hip Hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa

Where to begin?

Kelasia

This situation matters because children were harmed, but the predator comes from a world where his sexual preference isn’t supposed to exist. Hip Hop has never embraced homosexuality. It has violently criticized the lifestyle, more so in the last 20 years.

Kevin Donovan, who is known as one of the creators of Hip Hop is rumored to be gay and also a pedophile. I mention that he may be gay because part of me believes his internalized homosexuality has something to do with this abuse. NOTE that I wrote internalized, that part  is the problem, not his sexuality. For whatever reason he never chose to date men publicly, but is being accused of abusing them privately.

How did Kevin exploit these children and young men for so long with no intervention? It is said that other members of the ZULU Nation participated in the abuse, is this organization a front for pedophiles?

How do we respond when little black boys are raped and molested? Are we aware of the damage that may have lead to these boys living dysfunctional lives as adult men? How do we help them now? How do we protect our boys, the way we “protect” our girls from predators? What are we telling our boys about their bodies and bad touches?

Diego
Yea this is super touchy.

He’s a hip hop icon…his music and influence to “awaken” black people to their roots cant be understated.
Yet, this isn’t the only kid…that makes it even worse.  The suffering those kids had to endure has to be unimaginable.  We as black men are always told to hide pain, keep it internalized but we usually aren’t even discussing something of this level. A NYC Hip Hop Legend, celebrity.

I’m sure people probably told him that he was lying, because they loved AB so much.

“He could never do such a thing.”

Probably heard that so many times he would be a rich man for every time he heard it.

No one likes to ever look at a man in a “vulnerable” sexual state so having answers to that problem are few and far between.  That’s the sad thing.  Instances such as this have been swept under the rug for so damn long, no one knows how to even START rebuilding that victim’s life and overall psyche.

Most men, we tell our youngins to “protect” themselves from almost everything EXCEPT for this and its not due to any fault of us as adults/parents/mentors etc. Its just because stuff like this doesn’t even enter our mind space. Call it being “naive” but I wouldn’t.  It must go on the “checklist” now.  We are going to see more and more instances such as this as the population of pedophiles/predators lifestyle continues to grow.  We used to only “hear” of such predatory acts, now we can see it.

Ronald Savage describes his experience as a teenager in the Bronx, where he says he was molested by hip-hop legend Afrika Bambaataa. (Picture credit: www.nydailynews.com)

Ronald Savage describes his experience as a teenager in the Bronx, where he says he was molested by hip-hop legend Afrika Bambaataa. (Picture credit: www.nydailynews.com)

Kelasia

It’s interesting because his celebrity intersects with his activism so it’s not like he’s just some rapper. He has enlightened and empowered many, but he has also completely destroyed a lot of others. How do you weigh that? Let me tell you how. You remember that even if it were just one person, someone impacted by Kevin is literally living a walking nightmare everyday. Molestation is earth shattering and affects every area of your life. Often times victims of molestation become predators themselves. From what I read, this may be the case with Kevin. It’s no excuse, but it should be said.

Hip Hop has to speak up. It certainly has to deal with the fact that people are gay and that’s just the way it is. I truly believe some of these artists are in the closet due to the lack of acceptance. It’s music. Music touches everyone. Why can’t everyone have the opportunity to express themselves through this music? It certainly cannot be because anyone thinks a gay rapper could have a negative impact on children. Need I mention the current content in commercial Hip Hop? Imagine if we didn’t shame people into hiding. They could possible develop healthy relationships and lead great lives.

Pedophilia has been around forever. As women, I will admit the my awareness of this may be different than the average man. I mean the Catholic Church scandal has been going on for decades, Sandusky happened over 3 years ago. When are people going to accept that it’s happening and that it’s not going anywhere? 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse. We have to stop treating our boys and girls differently. As you said, we even teach them to manage their feelings differently. Men are human and they need to be whole people. They are just as emotional as we are and need space to express those emotions. This internalization leads to built up anger and it often-times expressed in the streets with a gun. We have to talk to little boys about valuing and protecting their bodies just like we talk to little girls. We are leaving them vulnerable because of a double standard mentality.

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