Diddy is the latest superstar to grace the cover of Variety. The music and fashion mogul touches on a wide range of topics such as black business, black excellence and making moves with his company, Revolt TV.
Elsewhere, he touches on his various endeavors in and outside of the music world, such as his judging stint on the singing competition show The Four, Ciroc Vodka, fashion and much more.
Here are six revelations Diddy unlocked during the interview.
The importance of investing in black-owned 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…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.”
Keep That Same Energy: racial injustice is just as important to discuss as the #MeToo movement.
“I’m not gonna be anybody’s judge and jury. But I will say that nobody should feel like they’re getting taken advantage of or getting abused when they’re just trying to create a livelihood for themselves…There are a bunch of injustices going on, and the same fire and vigor that people have about the #MeToo movement, I think it’s time that they have that about the way black America has been treated too.”
On the gentrification of New York City
“Gentrification is heartbreaking…When I go back to New York, the energy doesn’t feel the same — the nightlife, the excitement, the provocativeness. In Harlem you still feel that, even though the community has gotten displaced and shrunk. Like, where are the black people at?”
On his Harlem upbringing and how it shaped him
“You’re empowered by knowing your history. You can envision Malcolm X speaking on 125th, the ’20s at the Cotton Club, Langston Hughes, Harry Belafonte, Lorraine Hansberry. … There was such a deep sense of culture. When you’re born in Harlem, you’re taught how to dress nice on $5. You understand presentation, where your sneakers always have to be fresh, and the necessity of dance. … We’re just natural-born hustlers.”
On the longevity of the Sean John fashion label, and its importance to the streetwear wave
“Sean John gave birth to a lot. Sean John taught Virgil [Abloh]. It taught Kanye West. It taught a whole generation of designers that come from our culture. But also Gucci learned from it, Louis Vuitton learned from it, Givenchy, Balenciaga. So much of fashion is streetwear now, and the tipping point was Sean John. … I was the first to bring street wear to the runways, and now street wear [is] a multibillion-dollar industry where people are actually looking for the talent that’s coming from the community, giving them the resources, believing in them and benefiting from that.”
On the commercial failure of the critically-successful Diddy Dirty-Money album, ‘Last Train To Paris’
“Musically, that was the one that broke my heart, because I knew it was dope…But that’s part of the game. You gotta have those. Throughout your career you should do things that you really, really believe in, and take a chance.”
On his next major moves
“My focus now is more on Revolt and on supporting other labels, other musicians. I want to go from being on the stage to actually being the stage — from being the entrepreneur to supporting other entrepreneurs, but still with that same Bad Boy attitude. Right now, I look for executive talent, creative talent, just like I used to look for rap artists and singers. It’s about me going to a new level and empowering the next generations of Bad Boy and Diddy.”