Ludacris’ longtime manager Chaka Zulu (real name: Ahmed Obafemi) was arrested on a litany of charges, including murder, on Sept. 13. According to Fulton County, Georgia jail inmate records, Obafemi — who voluntarily turned himself in — faces additional charges of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and simple battery for a June shooting outside of Atlanta restaurant APT 4B that left 23-year-old Artez Benton dead. Records show Obafemi bonded out the same day.
Late Saturday night (Sept. 17), Obafemi’s attorney Gabe Banks released a statement via Instagram regarding the arrest and insisted his client acted in self-defense.
More from Variety
“Mr. Chaka Zulu, the beloved son of the City of Atlanta is disappointed in the Atlanta Police Department’s decision to bring charges against him surrounding the shooting that occurred in June 2022,” he said. “A close review of the all of the evidence, including surveillance footage and eyewitness interviews, reveal that Mr. Zulu was attacked and jumped from behind by a gang of at least four (4) individuals (sadly including the decedent) and was forced to defend himself after this gang repeatedly stomped, punched, and kicked him while he was on the ground in a defenseless posture.”
Banks also pointed out not only did the incident take place at Obafemi’s place of business, but also that he was shot in the back during the melee and nearly lost his life.
“In an attempt to save his life, Mr. Zulu lawfully discharged his weapon in self-defense, a weapon that he was licensed to carry. Mr. Zulu fully cooperated with law enforcement officials and their investigation, and voluntarily turned himself in once he learned of the arrest warrants.”
Both Obafemi and Banks are confident the veteran music executive’s name will be cleared during the upcoming criminal proceedings. Banks added: “It is not lost on Mr. Zulu that someone lost his life, but had Mr. Zulu not lawfully defended himself, Mr. Zulu would have been killed that night.”
Obafemi, Ludacris and Obafemi’s brother, Jeff Dixon, founded Disturbing Tha Peace Records in 1998, home to artists such as Chingy, Bobby V and Lil Scrappy. He also played a key role in inking Ludacris’ deal with Def Jam in 2008 and served as the rapper-actor’s longtime manager.
In 2019, Obafemi, as Chaka Zulu, joined Spotify as head of artist and talent relations.
Best of Variety