Sean “Diddy” Combs really didn’t think this one through, did he?
The music mogul drew the ire of social media this week when he posted an open letter to corporate America demanding it pay Black creators what they are owed — oddly ignoring the fact that he personally ripped off Black creators for decades.
In a lengthy op-ed, titled, If You Love Us, Pay Us: A Letter From Sean Combs to Corporate America, the Revolt TV founder took aim at General Motors (GM) for using his company “as an example of the Black-owned media it supports” when GM was “confronted by the leaders of several Black-owned media companies.”
The Bad Boy Records head explained that while Revolt receives ad revenue from the car maker, he still thinks the company has a long way to go in terms of supporting Black-owned media companies. He explained:
“Instead, REVOLT, just like other Black-owned media companies, fights for crumbs while GM makes billions of dollars every year from the Black community… Exposing GM’s historic refusal to fairly invest in Black-owned media is not an assassination of character, it’s exposing the way GM and many other advertisers have always treated us. No longer can Corporate America manipulate our community into believing that incremental progress is acceptable action.”
The superstar went on to point out that corporations like GM have “exploited” Black culture, “undermined our power and excluded Black entrepreneurs from participating in the value created by Black consumers.” He noted that less than 1% of the $239 billion brands spent on advertising in 2019 was invested in Black-owned media companies, adding how Revolt estimates that only $10 million of the $3 billion GM spent on ads was invested in Black-owned media.
While Diddy made some seriously good points, his missive didn’t attract the kind of attention he intended it to. Many were quick to point out the perceived hypocrisy of the mogul’s words, citing the almost-billionaire’s reported history of underpaying the acts signed to his Bad Boy roster and affiliated songwriters.
Plenty of critics pointed to a January 2020 Instagram post from former Bad Boy rapper Mase, who called out Diddy in response to a message of Black empowerment the Tell Me hitmaker made at an industry event before that year’s Grammy Awards. In the post, Mase alleged that Diddy’s “past business practices” have knowingly and continuously “purposely starved your artists and been extremely unfair to the very same artist that helped u obtain that Icon Award.”
Given this icky history, critics had plenty to say about Diddy’s essay. Users tweeted:
“Diddy, it starts with us. I was recently approached to host a show for Revolt and it came without pay. We cannot keep knocking white folks for their disrespect towards minority creators while doing the same thing to each other.”
“pay the artists that you stole from first love”
“diddy was using sweatshop in honduras to make sean john, refusing to pay his starving + broke artists, still hoarding (largely black) artists’ masters, and is of the generation that was instrumental in hip-hop’s commercialization & corporatization, so the irony here is incredible“
We’ll have to wait and see if and how Diddy responds to this — but these critics certainly make a good point, don’t U think?
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