Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs penned a letter to corporate America on Thursday, slamming companies for exploiting and disrespecting Black culture while failing to offer financial support to Black-owned businesses.
While many agreed with the sentiment of his column, titled, “If You Love Us, Pay Us: A Letter From Sean Combs to Corporate America,” the artist was subsequently scrutinized on Twitter, as many faulted him for failing to acknowledge his privilege and his own role in corporate America.
Combs specifically called out General Motors (GM), which listed his own media company, Revolt, as an example of a Black-owned media company it supports, writing that solidarity is insufficient if corporations do not offer financial help.
“The same feet these companies use to stand with us in solidarity are the same feet they use to stand on our necks,” Combs said in the essay, adding, “While REVOLT does receive advertising revenue from GM, our relationship is not 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.”
Combs’ point is hard to refute, as there is no question that large corporations often benefit from Black communities and Black culture. “Our impact and influence is undeniable,” wrote Combs, noting that, “It’s disrespectful that the same community that represents 14% of the population and spends over $1.4 trillion annually is still the most economically undervalued and underserved at every level.”
“In 2019, brands spent $239 billion on advertising,” Combs added. “Less than 1% of that was invested in Black-owned media companies.”
While Combs gained substantial support for highlighting the stark divide between how corporate America regards Black versus white-owned businesses, Twitter users also faulted Combs for mimicking the exact practice he so harshly condemned.
Influencer and singer Jessie Woo took to Twitter to encourage Combs “to be the change we need,” claiming that she was offered an unpaid hosting gig at Revolt:
It was an ONE EPISODE but STILL.
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.
— Jessica Fyre 💫 (@TheJessieWoo) April 8, 2021
“Revolt is owned by Diddy. We know how successful he is,” she added in a second post. “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.”
Forbes senior editor Abe Brown pointed to Combs’ “own problematic history as a businessperson,” linking to a Billboard article that reported on rapper Mase’s claim Combs himself exploits artists.
“Your past business practices knowingly has continued purposely starved your artist and been extremely unfair to the very same artist that helped u obtain that Icon Award on the iconic Badboy label [sic],” Mase wrote in an Instagram post last year. “For example, u still got my publishing from 24 years ago in which u gave me $20k. Which makes me never want to work w/ u as any artist wouldn’t.”
More than a few comments dwell on Diddy’s own problematic history as a businessperson. https://t.co/Z3MNVfIF5O
— Abe Brown (@abebrown716) April 8, 2021
Many others took to Twitter to condemn Combs for similar practices:
I hope he realizes this means people are going to pick apart his own corporations with a microscope, so he better come clean now with any past actions that are contrary to this message and take actions to resolve them.
Otherwise, let’s see that impact Diddy’s message will have. https://t.co/Ydlex9BNfS
— Johnny Akzam (@JohnnyAkzam) April 8, 2021
Bro I respect some stuff u done but if u gonna preach about corporations giving back start with u giving artist back there publishing. And co ownership of there music Vs hating u! Let’s reverse that slavery puff … @Therealkiss @SHEEKLOUCH #stylesp
— K-R.O.K (@NEVESSLU47KROK) April 8, 2021
Put this in the Blacksonian!!!
— Jeff (@JeffJSays) April 8, 2021
You first. Lead by example.
— Vivicca A. Whitsett (she/her) (@2tall4u2) April 8, 2021
diddy… about a 150 million away from being a BILLIONAIRE diddy is shaming white corporations for a capitalist business model he almost completely replicated 🧐
abolish the black capitalist industrial complex 🙏🏾 https://t.co/xbpPtDnJA9
— 🌱 (@noname) April 8, 2021
Diddy done put the bullseye on himself today huh!! Gonna be a long day on here for him. Sheesh
— Carp (@robcarpenter81) April 8, 2021
I want Diddy’s audacity https://t.co/Al70A9pgO2
— OLONI BABY (@Oloni) April 8, 2021
There are some reasonable truths in that Diddy “letter to corporations”
He is the worst person to deliver that message lol pic.twitter.com/IhWxnPX6Xx
Every time Diddy starts asking corporate America to help Black people I think about Ma$e. SMH.
— Rod (@rodimusprime) April 8, 2021
“Diddy over there calling from inside the house” is the current frontrunner for most amusing take
— Blair Herter (@blairherter) April 8, 2021
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