“When confronted by the leaders of several Black-owned media companies, General Motors (GM) listed my network, REVOLT, as an example of the Black-owned media it supports,” Diddy wrote in the lengthy op-ed in which he noted that Revolt receives ad revenue from the car maker, but does not consider that an example of success.
“Instead, REVOLT, just like other Black-owned media companies, fights for crumbs while GM makes billions of dollars every year from the Black community,” he continued in the missive entitled “If You Love Us, Pay Us: A Letter From Sean Combs to Corporate America.”
“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,” Combs added. “No longer can Corporate America manipulate our community into believing that incremental progress is acceptable action.”
Diddy claimed that corporations such as GM have “exploited” Black culture, “undermined our power and excluded Black entrepreneurs from participating in the value created by Black consumers,” noting that while brands spent $239 billion on advertising in 2019, less than 1% of that was invested in Black-owned media companies. He also said that of the $3 billion GM spent on ads, Revolt estimates only $10 million was invested in Black-owned media.
“Like the rest of Corporate America, General Motors is telling us to sit down, shut up and be happy with what we get,” Combs wrote. At press time it was unclear what inspired the impassioned note, which ended with Combs demanding that corporate America reinvest an equitable percentage of what it takes out of the Black community back in. “If the Black community represents 15% of your revenue, Black-owned media should receive at least 15% of the advertising spend,” he said.
The forceful call for empowerment and investment, however, elicited a torrent of equally intense responses on Twitter that Combs may not have anticipated. In a flood of sharp-edged tweets, users pointed to long-standing allegations that Diddy — whom Forbes dubbed a “near billionaire” in 2019 based on his reported $740 million fortune — has a purported history of underpaying the acts signed to his Bad Boy roster and affiliated songwriters.
In January 2020, former Bad Boy rapper Mase addressed Diddy in a pointed Instagram post alleging that “your past business practices knowingly has continued purposely starved your artists and been extremely unfair to the very same artist that helped u obtain that Icon Award.” His comment was in response to a message of Black empowerment Combs made at an industry event prior to that year’s Grammy Awards.
“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,” read one tweet in response to the artist’s open letter. Another Twitter user posted a cartoon image of man with a cross, sideways look and the message, “the entire 90s Bad Boy records roster reading this right now like.”
Many other tweets called out what they said was Combs’ hypocrisy at asking for corporate accountability to the Black community, including one in which two cartoon Diddys point at each other with the comment, “Diddy writing an open letter to corporate America about not paying black artists.”
Spokespeople for Combs and GM had not returned requests for comment at press time.
See some of the Twitter reactions to Diddy’s letter below.Credit: Original article published here.