Hip-Hop Stands With Survivors Protests Universal Hip-Hop Museum; Calls For Director’s Resignation

Hip-Hop Stands With Survivors

The Universal Hip Hop Museum is facing a boycott over its ties to the Zulu Nation and accused pedophile, Afrika Bambaataa.

In a call for accountability in the Hip-Hop community, a group of advocates, sexual abuse survivors, professionals, activists, and parents demand the end of taxpayer funding for the Universal Hip Hop Museum in the Bronx. 

The reason? 

Continued affiliation with accused pedophile Afrika Bambaataa and his Universal Zulu Nation. 

The group behind the call, Hip Hop Stands With Survivors, has sent an extensive report to the museum’s attorney and Mayor Eric Adams’ administration detailing numerous conflicts of interest and undue influence exerted by Bambataa and the Zulu Nation over the museum’s director, Rocky Bucano.

They argue that unresolved ties to Afrika Bambaataa and his Universal Zulu Nation create an unsafe environment and undermine the museum’s integrity. Bambaataa and the Universal Zulu Nation are entangled in a child sex trafficking lawsuit filed in 2021. 

Despite the ongoing case, Hip Hop Stands With Survivors says the UHHM has yet to sever ties with Bambaataa or the Universal Zulu Nation publicly. 

Critics argue that this decision puts children at risk and perpetuates a culture of silence.

Leila Wills, a journalist covering the Bambaataa story, expressed concern that the Universal Hip Hop Museum might be “signaling pedophiles” through its name, language, and affiliations. 

“We also believe that pedophiles will understand this signaling to mean they will find safety in corporate silence and a new hunting ground for child victims,” Wills added.

She warned that “if one child is harmed at the museum, it will be because the UHHM board and the City of New York failed to act after receiving our report.”

According to a statement on the UHHM’s official website, the non-profit said the word “Universal” has nothing to do with Bambaataa or the Zulu Nation. 

“The Universal Hip Hop Museum (UHHM) is making this statement to clarify the use of the adjective ‘universal’ in its name. As used in the organization’s name, Universal Hip Hop Museum, ‘Universal’ refers to the recognition of the global impact, the ethnically and culturally diverse nature, and the impact of Hip Hop over the past almost 50 years since its inception. 

“The Universal Hip Hop Museum has no corporate or organizational relationships with any organizations with ‘Universal’ in their names. The UHHM is a recognized 501(c)(3) organization and has no corporate or organizational relationships with Universal Records, Universal Pictures, the Universal Zulu Nation, or any other such named organization,” the UHHM explained. 

Despite the controversy, neither Mayor Adams’ administration nor the museum has responded to the 30-page report. 

Hip Hop Stands With Survivors is demanding the resignation of UHHM executive director Rocky Bucano and an end to taxpayer funding for the institution, which has received almost $30 million in public funding.

The group has planned a protest at New York’s City Hall on March 27, 2023, at 9:00 a.m. at New York’s City Hall, 260 Broadway in Manhattan.