Sean “Diddy” Combs grew up wanting to ball for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Instead, he became a global icon.
The 53-year-old music mogul and producer walked down memory lane as he was presented with the Global Icon Award at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards on Tuesday night at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
The legendary Mary J. Blige presented Diddy’s Global Icon performance and paid tribute to him, from calling him a “big brother” to reminding the world that his Bad Boy Records has sold more than 500 million albums worldwide. Once onstage, Diddy busted out his trademark Diddy-bop and belted out his 1997 hit “I’ll Be Missing You.” It was Diddy’s first performance at the VMAs since 2005.
His son, King Combs, joined him onstage for a few tracks, including “It’s All About the Benjamins, “I Need a Girl” and “Mo Money Mo Problems.” Yung Miami and Keyshia Cole also joined Diddy onstage.
There was a sweet moment when Diddy’s daughter, Chance Combs, joined Blige to present Diddy with the Global Icon Award. Diddy’s other children — Jessie James, Chance Combs, D’Lila and Justin Dior Combs — were also at the event, as was Diddy’s beloved mother, Janice.
Diddy made his first VMAs appearance in 1997 to perform “Mo Money Mo Problems.” He also hosted the VMAs in 2005. Over the course of his career, Diddy has won two VMAs.
In winning the Global Icon Award, Diddy called it a “surreal” moment because he grew up watching MTV wishing he’d be onstage one day. But his biggest dream was to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers. That dream never panned out, but soon another dream emerged: become a successful producer and record executive.
Diddy, of course, would go on to establish Bad Boy Records in 1993 and its roster included mega hitmakers, including the late Notorious B.I.G., Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans, 112, Ma$e, Cassie and many more.
“I pray to God y’all get to do something that you love for 30 years consistently,” he told the crowd during his acceptance speech. “It’s truly a gift from God, but you can’t do it alone.”
In true Diddy form, he ended his spiel by promoting his upcoming album, The Love Album: Off the Grid, out Friday. It marks his first album since 2010’s Last Train to Paris.
The 2023 MTV Video Music Awards is coming to you live from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on MTV. Follow along at ETonline.com for full coverage from this year’s VMAs, including the complete list of the nominees and the night’s big winners.