Sean Combs has achieved extraordinary success in music, TV and movies.
Yet the media mogul says there are too few opportunities for other African Americans to reach top-level positions in the entertainment industry.
“You have these record companies that are making so much money off our culture, our art form, but they’re not investing or even believing in us,” Combs told Variety in an article published Tuesday. “For all the billions of dollars that these black executives have been able to make them, [there’s still hesitation] to put them in the top-level positions.”
He noted that instead of developing and promoting African-American CEOs, record companies sometimes look outside the U.S. for leaders.
“They’ll go and they’ll recruit cats from overseas,” he said. “It makes sense to give [executives of color] a chance and embrace the evolution, instead of it being that we can only make it to president, senior VP. … There’s no black CEO of a major record company. That’s just as bad as the fact that there are no [black] majority owners in the NFL. That’s what really motivates me.”
Combs founded Bad Boy Records in the 1990s. The company’s artist roster included The Notorious B.I.G., Mase, Faith Evans and 112. After he partnered with MTV for the music competition series, Making the Band, he helped developed new acts from the series including Da Band and Danity Kane.
While Combs, who also goes by the monikers Puff Daddy, Puffy and Diddy, is considered one of the richest performers in the world, he said he wants other African Americans to be given opportunities to build empires.
“We only get 5% of the venture capital invested in things that are black owned — black-owned businesses, black-owned ideas, black-owned IP,” he said. “You can’t do anything without that money, without resources.”
Combs launched Revolt, a music-oriented cable network, in 2013. He also serves as a judge and producer on Fox’s singing competition, The Four: Battle for Stardom.
He’s built a solid acting career with roles in films such as Monster’s Ball, Get Him to the Greek, the TV movie A Raisin in the Sun and the ABC series Black-ish.
But when it comes to movies, Combs said Hollywood has been too slow to make big-budget films targeting black audiences.
“Black Panther was a cruel experiment,” he stated. “We live in 2018, and it’s the first time that the film industry gave us a fair playing field on a worldwide blockbuster, and the hundreds of millions it takes to make it.”