How do I look? Afrika Bambaataa, Musician, age 51

Interivew,Charlotte Philby
Saturday 19 July 2008 00:00 BST
(Portrait by Mo Daoud)

I'm as old as the moon and the stars, and as young as the trees and the lakes. My style comes from looking at what came before me, and from visiting a lot of places. I'm fanatical about movies: African, European, Viking, Roman. I got into witchcraft and magic from watching Bewitched and The Wizard of Oz, which shows in some of my outfits. I dress to reflect the whole spectrum of the universe.

I wear anything of culture, from the earth or beyond. The whole planet is my shop. One day I think I'm a warlock, so I'll hunt out some wizard or witchcraft shit. The next I'm a vampire, so it'll be more like a character from Blade. I get different vibrations with different moments. When I'm doing a concert, I'll wear something pertaining to the show. I like to dress in a funk style, so I'll wear influences of George Clinton or Sly and the Family Stone.

I'm a cultural man for everybody. Every country is my home when I go there. When I visit a new place, I walk the streets and hunt out new things. I might never get the chance to go back, so if I've got the funds, I'll snap it right up. My necklaces come from all over; the ankh symbol is the original cross, where all religions come from. The African map medallion is just one of a selection I have of Zulu Nation emblems.

My T-shirt shows the musical prophet, the Great Honourable Bob Marley, given to us by the creator. He taught us an important message, people: respect mother earth, she is a living entity. If you disrespect her, the wrath of nature and the creator will come against you. Today I'm wearing a T-shirt, but I'm known for my collection of robes, too. I wear ancient African robes, Asian robes, European robes.

Native Americans are the Aboriginals of America, which explains why I'm wearing the headdress. The true Aboriginals of America are the Moors, who also have history all over Europe. When Columbus came to America, he knew where he was at because he had maps from the Moors, who had already been and lived there. Pedro the Moor brought him here on the boat. I've got headdresses and robes from all over: I am the mystery of everybody's story.

Afrika Bambaataa was speaking from Exit festival in Serbia. Visit for next year's tickets

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