Earlier this summer, reports swirled that Diddy, by way of Revolt, award-winning filmmaker Tyler Perry and Entertainment Studios founder Byron Allen were all vying for majority stake in BET. In a new interview with Billboard (Sept. 13), Diddy revealed that his mind is still set on collaborating with his two fellow businessmen in some capacity.
Of Revolt, which is nearing its ten-year anniversary this year, Diddy said, “As far as our business strategy, we’re in acquisition mode to really build a Black-owned media conglomerate. That’s why we were looking at BET and at a couple of other businesses.” He continued, “BET is definitely the mecca, the originator of Black media, and still is…. We’re not going to be able to reach our highest level of success in the media world, like a Rupert Murdoch, if we don’t unify. Like me, Tyler Perry and Byron Allen. We have a responsibility because it’s like 15 of us getting money, but 10 billion people in the world.”
Nonetheless, by the end of the summer (Aug. 16), Paramount decided against selling their majority stake in BET.
Diddy’s talk of unification comes alongside his understanding that diversity in the music industry has “gotten worse” since #TheShowMustBePaused. “It’s all a bunch of bulls–t. Diversity isn’t about inclusion; diversity is about sharing power. And nothing has changed. It’s gotten worse,” he said. “We have some representation … Shout out and all due respect to everybody that’s in power. But [for most people], there’s still somebody over them, a white man that they have to get permission from to do something. And it’s always been the same, no matter what the industry.”
In 2020, Atlantic Records senior directors of marketing Brianna Agyemang and Jamila Thomas launched #TheShowMustBePaused in conjunction with an industry-wide Blackout Tuesday intended to pause music business happenings and focus on ways to protect and uplift the Black community. That same year, Diddy himself challenged the Recording Academy to reckon with their history of not respecting Black music “to the point that it should be.”
One of the most powerful names in music, Diddy has traversed different genres and styles of Black music throughout his career. In fact, his new Billboard interview is in support of his forthcoming The Love Album: Off the Grid, his first studio album since 2010’s Last Train to Paris, a collaborative album with Dawn Richard and Kalenna Harper billed under the Diddy — Dirty Money moniker.
Diddy lamented how he “had to compromise the uncut Blackness and soul” of the album because his “intentions were to get another No. 1 record instead of keeping the album uncut and soulful.” Despite his feelings about the project, Last Train to Paris — which peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 — has undergone an interesting trajectory. “As time went on, people were able to connect with the album, and it’s become a cult classic,” Diddy mused.
The Grammy-winner, who was recently awarded the global icon award at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards, also touched on his highly anticipated Verzuz battle against Jermaine Dupri, saying “The only Verzuz I want to have right now is Puff Daddy versus Diddy. The only person I’m in competition with is myself. But the battle with Jermaine isn’t off the table. We’re still trying to work it out, and I definitely look forward to that.”
Click here to read the full interview.