Sean “Diddy” Combs recently told Variety that he thinks the billion dollar blockbuster Black Panther was a “cruel experiment.”
Although the 2018 Marvel movie has been praised for its inclusivity and diversity, Diddy is not convinced that Hollywood will continue to tell the stories of people of color in that magnitude, remaining skeptical about the stamina of African-American culture and expression in the industry.
“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,” Diddy said.
While he acknowledges that the success of the movie is notable, Diddy also pointed out that the production and success of a movie like Black Panther still comes as a rare opportunity, going on to point out the “financial discrepancies” of capitalizing off of black or African-American culture.
“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,” he said.
Explaining further, Diddy added, “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.”
He then turned his attention to the music industry, pointing out the lack of diversity in management positions. Diddy claimed that there are essentially no black CEOs of major record labels or people of color in executive positions in the music and entertainment industries.
“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,” Diddy said.
He continued, “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. They’ll go and they’ll recruit cats from overseas.” 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.”
Diddy claims that these discrepancies are what currently motivate him in his own career as an artist and an entrepreneur.