Aziza Kibibi was only eight-years-old when her father – an MTV award-winning music video director – started raping her. By 10, Aswad Ayinde’s lessons teaching his daughter ‘how to be a woman’ turned violent and his regular raping produced five children out of incest in a perverse attempt to create a ‘pure’ bloodline.
Ayinde, who is also known as Charles McGill and won fame after directing The Fugees’ ‘Killing Me Softly’ video, was sentenced to 50 years in prison on July 26, finally ending Kibibi’s nightmare.
The incredibly brave woman, who is now 35, married and running a promising baking business, spoke out about the traumatic childhood this week for the first time.
Kibibi revealed her childhood started off relatively normal. She lived with her mother and father on the third-floor of an apartment in Paterson, New Jersey, with her Jamaican immigrant grandparents living below.
Kibibi was home-schooled but still allowed to play with the neighbourhood children. When her family grew to include eight children they moved into a bigger apartment in the same building.
It was when Kibibi started to mature that her father started giving her unwanted attention.
‘He told me I was special. Initially, it was to teach me to be a woman,’ she said. ‘By the time he started having intercourse with me, he was getting more and more violent. When I would start fighting him, he would hit me. It was more about threats.’
Her father began to change, and became more controlling over the family. He moved them out of their grandparent’s apartment to another house in Paterson before relocating to Eatontown in Southern New Jersey. The children were only allowed to watch a small amount of TV, and nothing that depicted traditional family life.
Modern medicine was outlawed in the house, and he actually told his wife that his relations with Kibibi were to treat her eczema.
Kibibi wasn’t the only one Ayinde was having sex with. He had a mistress – a Manhattan lawyer whom he had another two children with – and was also abusing one of Kibibi’s sisters.
He called himself a polygamist and a prophet. His family was allowed to pray to god but could only do so through him.
‘He said the world was going to end, and it was just going to be him and his offspring and that he was chosen,’ his ex-wife, Beverly Ayinde testified at a 2010 pre-trial hearing. She said he was attempting to create a ‘pure’ bloodline by procreating with his daughters.
When Kibibi’s first child was born without defects, Ayinde took it as proof and continued to rape the girl to get her pregnant.
But the following children would not be so lucky. Two further daughters born from her father would be diagnosed with phenylketonuria (PKU) a disease that prevents the body from breaking down amino acids. PKU can cause brain damage and seizures.
Dr. Anna Haroutunian, a PKU specialist who has treated Kibibi’s children, said they definitely got the disease because of inbreeding.
PKU is a recessive gene, so both parents must have the gene in order for it to pass along to the child. The gene only appears at a rate of 1 in 4,000 worldwide and is must lower for African-Americans. Likely Kibibi’s paternal grandfather had the gene.
Over the years, Kibibi became obsessed with escaping. She would sleep just because her dreams were better than real life.
‘I’d dream about running away. I’d dream about getting all my brothers and sisters — one of my sisters was a baby, and I was taking care of her — I’d dream about growing breasts and getting milk and running away with them somewhere,’ she said.
When she was older and one of her sons fell sick, she finally got the courage to take him to the hospital since Ayinde was out of town on a business trip.
But she didn’t know how to interact with the doctors and a social worker stepped in, alerting the Department of Youth a Family Services.
When Ayinde returned from his business trip he was enraged, and threatened to forcibly remove his son from the hospital.
Child services stepped in before he could do that and placed them in separate homes.
After that Kibibi, her mother and her sisters moved away from Ayinde as she attempted to get her children back.
Her performance in state-mandated courses and counselling impressed the government officials and eventually her children were returned to her.
‘She has been an exceptional mother,’ Haroutunian said. ‘She was so attentive and patient, it’s remarkable. For a young girl – with all she’s had – she has been just wonderful.’
Having to fight to get her children back also empowered Kibibi, and translated to her life after abuse. She now lives in East Orange, New Jersey with her husband.
She went back to school for her GED and will finish her liberal arts degree from Essex County College this fall. She also runs her own baking business and plans to start a restaurant someday.
Kibibi and her sister decided to finally bring charges against their abusive father. They delayed pressing charges since they were unsure the affect it would have on the children.
She shared her story in hopes of making a difference with those in a similar situation.
‘Instead of just being an experience that I had, maybe this strengthened me. What doesn’t break us makes us stronger.’