Friday, July 19, 2024

Activists call for Hip Hop museum executive director to resign, citing ties to pioneer named in sex abuse lawsuit

A sexual abuse advocacy group convened a rally to bring attention to the Universal Hip Hop Museum (UHHM) executive director and co-founder and what it says is his link to a hip hop pioneer who is named in a sex abuse lawsuit, News 12 reports.

Hip Hop Stands With Survivors members held a demonstration outside of City Hall Park in lower Manhattan this week, carrying signs in support of those who have been sexually abused and signs requesting that tax dollars not be used to fund the recently built UHHM because of Rocky Bucano’s association with Universal Zulu Nation founder Afrika Bambaataa.

The group’s sex abuse survivors and advocates of those who have been sexually abused are also calling for Bucano’s resignation, noting that he recognized the Zulu Nation during the 50th-anniversary celebration of hip-hop earlier this year.

“I am thankful we have a strong representation from all the pioneers and the practitioners who have made this culture the most important art form, starting with my brother Grandmaster Flash and the formation of the Zulu Nation,” Bucano reportedly said at the event held four months ago at City Hall.

Rocky Bucano
(L-R) Ralph McDaniels and Rocky Bucano attend the Universal Hip Hop Museum’s “The Drip: 50 Years of Hip Hop Fashion” on Feb. 24, 2023, at the Hard Rock Hotel New York in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

The advocacy group, whose members have vowed to continue to pressure officials until their demands are met, held up signs that read “Rocky Bucano Must Go” and “Stop Promoting Predators With Tax Dollars.” Bambaataa’s Zulu Nation is also named in the lawsuit. The museum, Bambaataa and Zulu Nation have yet to respond to News 12’s request for a comment.

The mayor’s office issued a statement to News 12, noting that the museum has “assured the administration that they cut ties with the Universal Zulu Nation and that Afrika Bambaataa has not had a role at the Universal Hip Hop Museum since 2016.” 

The anonymous plaintiff — now a young man — filed the lawsuit against Bambaataa in 2021, alleging that the music icon began sexually abusing him when the boy was 12. The abuse lasted from 1991 to 1995, theGrio reported in September 2021.

Bambaataa previously stated that he “never abused nobody,” when similar allegations surfaced in 2016. 

Afrika Bambaataa
Hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa speaks during a press conference to announce the launch of The Smithsonian’s “Hip-Hop Won’t Stop: The Beat, The Rhymes, The Life” on Feb. 28, 2006, at the Hilton Hotel in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, this first-of-its-kind cultural museum is part of a $349 million, mixed-use project that will feature 542 units of affordable housing along the Harlem River waterfront in the South Bronx of New York City, theGrio reported in May 2021

Several hip-hop legends, including Nas, LL Cool J, Fat Joe, Lil Kim, Naughty by Nature, Grandmaster Flash, Slick Rick, EMPD, as well as several local politicians, attended the May 2021 groundbreaking at the site of the permanent home of the museum.

One demonstrator told News 12 that the museum “… is being run by the Universal Zulu Nation through Rocky Bucano. They are looking out for Afrika Bambaataa’s interests.”

TheGrio freelance writer Ny Magee contributed to this article.

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