Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Slams GM for Not Supporting Black-Owned Media

Musician and entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs criticized General Motors Co. and other companies for failing to support Black-owned media, saying Corporate America could no longer “manipulate our community into believing that incremental progress is acceptable.”

The rapper, who founded the Revolt cable network in 2013, posted an open letter on that company’s website Thursday calling out companies for spending less than 1% of their advertising on Black-owned media.

He singled out General Motors because it recently cited Revolt as a company it supports. “While Revolt does receive advertising revenue from GM, our relationship is not an example of success. Instead, Revolt, just like other Black-owned media companies, fights for crumbs while GM makes billions of dollars every year from the Black community,” he said.

“Corporations like General Motors have exploited our culture, undermined our power, and excluded Black entrepreneurs from participating in the value created by Black consumers,” said Combs, who first rose to fame in the 1990s as a hip-hop artist and record producer.

In response, GM said that the company is currently meeting with Black-owned media enterprises as the automaker works on its plan to spend more with those properties. Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra will be in some of those meetings. Company spokesman Pat Morrissey said that for this year, GM doubled its spending with Black-owned media groups to 2%.

“We will increase our spend with this important segment to 4% in 2022, and will continue to grow our spend thereafter with a target of 8% by 2025,” Morrissey said in an email. “We already have the highest diversity media spend in our industry and we believe this furthers that leadership and commitment.”

Mounting Pressure

Pressure has mounted on companies to diversify their ranks and reform policies since the killing of George Floyd last year sparked nationwide protests. GM and Barra have come under particular scrutiny, with Black media entrepreneurs such as Weather Channel owner Byron Allen saying the company refused to meet with them. They took out a full-page ad in the Detroit Free Press saying Barra was ignoring them and spending less than 0.5% of the company’s advertising dollars on Black-owned media.

Morrissey said that GM executives have meet with Allen, that Black-owned media “are a vital component of our marketing mix, and we evaluate our spend for media partners through several core metrics, including transparency, innovation, ad quality, audience delivery and brand safety.”

In his letter, Combs also slammed distributors for not carrying Black-owned media brands “in an era where our impact and influence is undeniable.”

Corporate America should invest the same percentage that it gets from the Black community back into Black-owned media, he said.

“If you love us, pay us!” he said. “The time is now! Radical change is the only option. You’re either with us or you are on the other side.”

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