Recently, two men at two completely opposite ends of the hiphop spectrum—Ian Connor and Afrika Bambaataa—were alleged to have committed multiple counts of sexual assault. Ian Connor is pretty much contemporary fashion-rap's premier famous-for-nothing hypebeast, uh, stylist—who I admit I never thought much of. In fact, I always thought less of cats who kept him around or legitimized him (ASAP, Kanye).
However I feel about him, at the time of this writing at least two women—Malika Anderson and singer Jean Deaux—have shared allegations of being assaulted by Connor. Connor has denied all the allegations.
(I'm not gonna nitpick the mechanics of rape here like OG Maco's apologist ass—but the percentage of women, especially Black women, who've reported being sexually assaulted should be staggering to anybody who knows women to be human.)
That said, if you really think somebody has anything to gain from telling the world that they were raped by anyone, let alone a popular figure in the social-media era, I don't know what to tell you. There's no come-up, record deal, or check at the end of it—just a bunch of people threatening and disrespecting you, and possibly a fruitless, retraumatizing encounter with police.
Now: to Bam. The man called the Godfather of Hip-Hop, the dude who named it "hip-hop"—who forged the Universal Zulu Nation from the ashes of the Bronx gangs, the one who as a DJ brought a genre-blind sampledelic ethic to hiphop's youngest days, the one-third of the holy trinity of hiphop period who isn't Kool Herc or Grandmaster Flash. Yes, that guy. Bronx activist Ronald Savage has come forward with an accusation that Bambaataa molested him in 1980, when Savage was 15. If you ever thought about yourself as part of hiphop culture (a notion itself that Bam had everything to do with)—then this shakes that culture to its literal foundation. Read Savage's allegations. I believe this is not the sort of thing you make up. This is pain. Both Bambaataa's lawyer and the Zulu Nation organization have denied the allegation.
What does it say about power, about fear, about sickness, as this pain is written into the DNA of what we hold most dear—whether your church is the elements of hiphop or the Vatican? What does it say about deifying anyone? Where does all this leave the UZN, an international organization full of good people who've been doing work since forever?
You probably don't know this, but I'm a victim of sexual abuse, too. There are a lot of us who've been through it, and I know well how painful to reconcile, let alone talk about, considering all the garbage that we're already given to papier-mâché into something we call "manhood."
If you experienced or are experiencing this shit, no matter who you are, and are reading this right now, I want you to know that you're not alone. Not by a long shot. (Furthermore: Talk to someone, like the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center—kcsarc.org.)
We all got a lot of healing to do, and I pray, in my way, that we all get there, myself included. Love.