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Afrika Bambaataa


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South Bronx, New York (1957 – present)

Afrika Bambaataa (born April 10th or October 4th, 1957 or 1960; though his birth-date is hotly debated as he refuses to comment on his age) is a community leader, DJ, and musician from the South Bronx, New York. He was instrumental in the early development of throughout the , and he has played a significant role in its culture for years.

During Bambaataa’s early years, he was a founding member of the Bronxdale Projects-area street gang, which was called iThe Savage Seveni. Due to the explosive growth of the gang, it later became known as the iBlack Spadesi, and Bambaataa rose to the position of Division Leader. After a life-changing visit to Africa, he changed his name to Afrika Bambaataa Aasim. Bambaataa felt influenced by the depiction of the Zulu warriors attacking British troops at Rorke’s Drift in a famous Michael Caine film, titled ‘Zulu’, and he felt compelled to fight for unity, education, and mutual respect in his community. He took his name, which roughly translated to “affectionate leader”, from the film.

After the visit, Bambaataa decided to use his leadership to turn those involved in the gang life into something more positive to the neighborhoods around him. This began the development of ‘The Organization’, which later became known as the ‘Zulu Nation’. The group of racially and politically aware rappers, B-boys, graffiti artists, and other people involved in culture gained fame in the early eighties to mid nineties.


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