Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs blasts GM in open letter: ‘If you love us, pay us’

On his REVOLT site, Combs joined those decrying the racism behind General Motors' limited spending with Black media.

Music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs has added to the chorus of media magnates calling on major corporations to spend advertising dollars with Black-owned companies. 

Combs penned an open letter on REVOLT, his cable network’s entertainment and news site, where he opened with a quote from activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” 

Music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs has added to the chorus of media magnates calling on major corporations to spend advertising dollars with Black-owned companies. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for MCM)

“The same feet these companies use to stand with us in solidarity are the same feet they use to stand on our necks,” Combs wrote. 

He alluded to a recent missive and advertisement written by Byron Allen of Allen Media Group, which owns TheGrio, that called out the racism behind General Motors’ limited spending with Black-owned media companies. In their response, GM CEO Mary Barra and General Motors named Revolt as one company that they support.

Combs contradicted that account. 

Read More: MSNBC apologizes for showing wrong video of congressman

“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 wrote. “Exposing GM’s historic refusal to fairly invest in Black-owned media is not an assassination of character, it’s exposing the way GM and many other advertisers have always treated us. No longer can Corporate America manipulate our community into believing that incremental progress is acceptable action.”

“Corporations like General Motors, Combs continues, “have exploited our culture, undermined our power, and excluded Black entrepreneurs from participating in the value created by Black consumers.” 

Read More: Byron Allen partners with Verizon for Black-owned media summit

He goes on to break down the numbers, writing, “In 2019, brands spent $239 billion on advertising. Less than 1% of that was invested in Black-owned media companies. Out of the roughly $3 billion General Motors spent on advertising, we estimate only $10 million was invested in Black-owned media. Only $10 million out of $3 billion!” 

“Like the rest of Corporate America,” Combs contends, “General Motors is telling us to sit down, shut up and be happy with what we get.” 

Read More: Tyler Perry developing Madea prequel series for Showtime

To him, Corporate America’s refusal to spend equitably with Black-owned media brands is “disrespectful” to a community that spends over $1.4 trillion annually. 

“If you love us, pay us! Not a token investment. Not a charity check or donation,” he concludes. “The time is now! Radical change is the only option. You’re either with us or you are on the other side.”

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s “Dear Culture” podcast? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download today!