Diddy is dabbling in an interesting (and dangerous) game of “This you??” on Black Twitter.
In a letter addressed to General Motors published via his Revolt TV website on Thursday, Diddy (born Sean Combs) critiqued the corporation that “exploited our culture, undermined our power, and excluded Black entrepreneurs from participating in the value created by Black consumers.” He also called out the entire culture of corporate America.
“We demand that Corporate America reinvest an equitable percentage of what you take from our community back into our community,” Diddy wrote. “If the Black community represents 15% of your revenue, Black-owned media should receive at least 15% of the advertising spend. The same way you understand the power of our dollars, we understand our power to take them away from any corporation that doesn’t give us the economic inclusion we deserve. We are prepared to weaponize our dollars.”
The letter appears to serve as an assist to the recent call-out targeting GM led by several Black executives, including entrepreneur Byron Allen. In response, GM vowed to quadruple the amount of advertising dollars to go toward Black-owned media outlets between now and 2025.
“Black-owned media are a vital component of our marketing mix, and we evaluate our spend for media partners through several core metrics, including transparency, innovation, ad quality, audience delivery and brand safety,” General Motors said in a statement at the time.
“If you love us, pay us! Not a token investment. Not a charity check or donation. The time is now! Radical change is the only option. You’re either with us or you are on the other side,” Diddy’s letter concluded.
Excuse me for a minute while I pause to rub my iron knee for dramatic effect.
OK, I’m back. Now, Diddy. P. Diddy. Puffy. Puff Daddy. Puff. Love…
The media mogul has rapped about “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems” before and it seems like his current problem is a dash of self-awareness. I’m never one to interrupt a call-out of white supremacist systems and the companies that continually enforce it, but multiple things can be true here—especially if your own actions are directly and indirectly aiding that very exploitative system. In addition to immediately thinking of the popular “Spider-Men” meme from the “Double Indemnity” episode of the 1967 Spider-Man series, I (and the rest of Black Twitter) couldn’t help but contribute his own meme from The Four, where he stared down then-contestant Elijah Connor.
The obvious has to do with Diddy’s tainted history with Black music artists he previously worked with via his Bad Boy Records label, including but not limited to Mase. Mase actually had to execute a similar “This you??” moment back when Diddy called out the Recording Academy’s failure toward Black artists during his acceptance speech for the Salute to Industry Icons Award back earlier this year. Mase suggested directly to the Revolt TV founder that in order to “see change, you can make a change today by starting with yourself.”
“Your past business practices knowingly has continued purposely starved (sic) your artist and been extremely unfair to the very same artist that helped u obtain that Icon Award on the iconic Bad Boy label,” Mase wrote at the time. “For example, u still got my publishing from 24 years ago in which u gave me $20k.”
“Diddy, it starts with us,” artist and personality Jessie Woo tweeted in response to Diddy’s tweet promoting the letter. “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. I encourage you to be the change we need.”
“It was ONE EPISODE but STILL,” Woo continued. “Online content generates tons of money. Revolt is owned by Diddy. We know how successful he is. No one should be working for free and/or the opportunity especially when your network is the one reaching out to said creator/talent/host etc.”
“Diddy...about a 150 million away from being a BILLIONAIRE Diddy is shaming white corporations for a capitalist business model he almost completely replicated, rapper-activist Noname tweeted. “Abolish the Black capitalist industrial complex.”
This highlights an ongoing conversation surrounding Black capitalism in that these types of industry leader call-outs should not only be benefitting the Black elite or for simple “representation” sake with no tangible progression for the entire community. Simply put, if your ultimate goal is true equity, receiving what’s owed to us by white systems only to use that to embody their harmful tactics ain’t the way to go.