Music mogul Diddy wants to see some more color in the entertainment industry. The hip-hop icon has dished on his personal frustrations with the music business not investing more into putting blacks in powerful positions. In a new candid interview with Variety Diddy talks about the industry’s lack of investment in black enterprise.
“You have these record companies that are making so much money off our culture, our art form, but they’re not investing or even believing in us,” says Combs of hip-hop’s commercial dominance, especially through streaming.
“For all the billions of dollars that these black executives have been able to make them, [there’s still hesitation] to put them in the top-level positions. They’ll go and they’ll recruit cats from overseas,” he continues. “It makes sense to give [executives of color] a chance and embrace the evolution, instead of it being that we can only make it to president, senior VP. … There’s no black CEO of a major record company. That’s just as bad as the fact that there are no [black] majority owners in the NFL. That’s what really motivates me.”
Combs is unsparing about the music business landscape in which he came of age (“There was segregation, as well as blatant racism, and there still is”) and the film business’s baby steps toward inclusion.
“‘Black Panther’ was a cruel experiment,” he maintains, “because we live in 2018, and it’s the first time that the film industry gave us a fair playing field on a worldwide blockbuster, and the hundreds of millions it takes to make it.”
For Combs, harnessing the means of production is the only way forward — and the organizing principle of his various businesses.
“We only get 5% of the venture capital invested in things that are black-owned — black-owned businesses, black-owned ideas, black-owned IP,” he says. “You can’t do anything without that money, without resources. But when we do get the resources, we over-deliver. When Adidas invests in Kanye and it’s done properly, you have the right results. When Live Nation invests in artists and puts them in arenas the same way U2 would be, you have the right results. ‘Black Panther,’ ‘Black-ish,’ fashion; it’s all about access. If you’re blocked out of the resources, you can’t compete. And that’s my whole thing — to be able to come and compete.”
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