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April 26, 2016

Petition: Cornell University Must Sever Ties with Afrika Bambaataa

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Troi Torain, former radio station disc jockey, has circulated a petition demanding that the University expunge the work of Afrika Bambaataa — Cornell Hip Hop Collection’s first visiting scholar — from its archives, in light of allegations of child molestation levied against the artist.

“It is incumbent upon the University to immediately address these allegations,” said the petition filed via “Until these claims have been definitively and without equivocation resolved,”

As of Monday night, the petition had gained over 170 signatures of its target 200.

Torain told New York Daily News that he believes the University has not responded appropriately to the allegations against the musician.

“Just because these allegations were made by men of color doesn’t mean you can ignore them,” he said.

The Cornell Hip Hop Collection acquired an archive of Bambaataa’s work in 2013, and a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities will allow the archive to be catalogued and preserved, according to a University statement issued April 21.

Cornell has announced that administrators are aware of the allegations, but maintain that Bambaataa’s contributions to hip-hop are “indisputable.”

“[His] archive will remain one of many in the Cornell Hip Hop Collection, which exists to preserve and make accessible the artifacts documenting the rise of hip-hop into a global cultural movement,” Cornell’s statement said.

Four men have come forward saying that Bambaataa sexually abused them while they were in their teens, according to the New York Daily News.

Ronald Savage, a New York judicial delegate who first accused Bambaataa of molestation, said the University’s maintenance of the archives would be promoting child harassment, the Daily News reported.

“If Cornell [retains] anything from Bambaataa, that’s like it is telling the world it supports child molesters,” Savage said.

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  • Gary Frank

    The notion that Cornell’s retention of anything from Afrika Bambaataa is like “telling the world it supports child molesters” is like saying a museum that exhibits religious imagery endorses crucifixion as a form of capital punishment. Like it or not, the impact of what Bambaataa accomplished as an artist is separate from the crimes he’s accused of committing. If there was a morality test applied to artists of any kind before their works could be played or put on display the world’s museums and concert halls would be nearly empty of content.

  • Shewster

    Absolutely asinine that people would allow ALLEGATIONS of wrong-doing to manipulate an entity into expunging someones life work and efforts. PhuckQ Troi Torain! Someone needs to smack your mammy for spelling your name that way…….

  • Jay

    Troi “Star” Torain seems to have forgotten that in our legal system people are innocent until proven guilty. Unless Bambaataa’s guilt is proven in the court of law, then these are just allegations, nothing more. If, hypothetically, he were to be found guilty of these alleged crimes, then it still does not lessen the value of Bambaataa’s artistic work, as another commenter has correctly pointed out.

    One thing is certain though: Troi Torain is a troll who has a long history of making sensationalist claims about celebrities to boost his own “ratings.” Glad to see that no one is taking his petition seriously. As of now, he still has yet to reach his goal of 200 signatures. For a wannabe celebrity like Torain, who presumably has at least a *few* fans out there, it says a lot that he cant even get 200 signatures!

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