The Universal Zulu Nation is an international hip hop awareness group formed and headed by hip hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa. It arose in the 1970s when reformed New York City gang members began to organise cultural events for youth, combining local dance and music into what would become known as the various elements of hip hop culture. By the 1980s, hip hop had spread globally with the Zulu Nation behind it, with the Zulu Nation currently having chapters in over twenty countries with an estimated membership of ten thousand. The Zulu Nation have come to embrace and preserve hip hop's key elements, and have exemplified what is often considered hip hop's 5th element, knowledge.
The Zulu Nation has undergone many changes over the past decade. From the late 1980s, at the height of the Afrocentric movement in hip hop, the movement seemed to be incorporating many doctrines from the Nation of Islam, the Nation of Gods and Earth, and the Nuwaubians. In the 2000s, the Zulu Nation left the system of "believing" and instead adheres to Factology versus Beliefs, a philosophy and doctrine that cane be seen in, though is not exclusive to, Nuwaubianism.
The visual imagery of the Zulu Nation has changed considerably as well. During the 1970s and 1980s, Afrika Bambaataa and Zulu Nation members would often wear clothes that represented various culture of the world. These costumes were seen as symbols of the Zulu Nation's desire to help others regardless of their nationality or skin color, and also to symbolise people who were peaceful until they were oppressed by those who were not. Normal members, including whites and Latinos, would often wear necklaces or shirts depicing an outline of the African continent or a crude tribal drawing of a man's face.