Sean “Diddy” “Brother Love” Combs isn’t here for questions surrounding the ability of Black people to take ownership of their culture. The rapper/mogul made that clear when he responded to a Billboard article which wondered why hip hop hasn’t produced more high-ranking Black executives.
“KNOW YOUR WORTH!!! IF ANY OF YOU KINGS AND QUEENS WANNA MOB AND UNIFY LET ME KNOW!!!” Diddy posted Monday, April 16. “IF WE DON’T OWN OUR CULTURE THEN WE HAVE NOTHING!!! You think we have nothing now. WE MUST OWN OUR CULTURE! It’s NOT NEGOTIABLE!!! THE CULTURE THAT WE CREATED WILL BE OUR FIRST REAL OPPORTUNITY TO GAIN ECONOMIC WEALTH AS A PEOPLE. WE MUST WORK TOGETHER BECAUSE WE ALL WE GOT!! #BlackExcellence.”
The Bad Boy Records founder essentially wants Black people to take control of their culture by being in charge of the hip-hop and R&B music — Black music — that currently sits atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
“There’s definitely a challenge in the music industry with respect to the pipeline for Black executives, which is interesting when you think about the impact of the music that is being sold, because a lot of that is urban music and Black culture,” music attorney Julian Petty, told the publication about the discrepancy between the Black artists dominating the airwaves compared to the lack of Black executives in charge of their labels. “You can’t just have a few folks there. We’ve got to figure that out.”
The article pointed out that some recent progress has been made in pushing Black managers toward the top, including Tunji Balogun being promoted from senior VP to executive VP A&R at RCA Records. He also has a joint-venture label called Keep Cool. Music attorney Nicole Wyskoarko was named executive VP urban operations at Interscope Geffen A&M among a group of other Black executive promotions made at major labels like Warner Bros. and Columbia Records.
And while the early 2000s saw a dismantling of Black music departments at major labels — BMG nixing its entire urban sector in 2001 and Motown merging with Universal Music Group in 2005 — Black entrepreneurs have paved their own way, too.
Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, Anthony Tiffith’s Kendrick Lamar-featuring Top Dawg Entertainment, Kevin “Coach” Lee’s and Pierre “Pee” Thomas’, Quality Control — where Migos are signed — and Birdman’s and brother Ronald “Slim” Williams’ Cash Money are all hip hop labels featuring Black executives at the top.
It seems Diddy wants to see more of this from Black people. And if his comments are any indication, plenty of folks have backed him up on this.
“I agree, we must own what we are responsible for cultivating,” someone remarked.
“BIG FACTS!” another commented.
“This! 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👑👑👑💪🏾,” said someone else.
“Thanks for keeping this momentum ✊🏿✊🏿✊🏿,” someone commented. “It means a lot coming from you @Diddy we have to keep the message of #blackexcellence out there all day every day.”