News & Opinion | April 8, 2021 3:16 pm

Diddy Pens Open Letter to General Motors: “If You Love Us, Pay Us”

The mogul called out the company for disrespecting Black-owned media brands

Sean "Diddy" Combs speaks at the Pre-Grammy Gala
Sean "Diddy" Combs speaks onstage during the Pre-Grammy Gala on January 25, 2020.
Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

On Sunday, the leaders of several Black-owned media companies, including Byron Allen and Ice Cube, took out a full-page ad in the Detroit Free Press accusing General Motors CEO Mary Barra of racism for refusing to meet with them “consistently, over time and after multiple requests.” Now, Sean “Diddy” Combs — who founded the Revolt network — has joined the fight and penned an open letter to the company calling for more financial support for Black-owned media brands.

“When confronted by the leaders of several Black-owned media companies, General Motors (GM) listed my network, REVOLT, as an example of the Black-owned media it supports,” the letter notes. “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. 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.”

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

General Motors has issued a lengthy statement in response to Diddy’s letter, pledging to significantly increase its advertising with Black-owned businesses and agreeing to meet with Black-owned media over the next few weeks to discuss plans to move forward.

“Our commitment goes beyond advertising and sponsorship revenue,” their statement reads in part. “We want to build long-standing partnerships with Black-owned and diverse media companies in a transparent and meaningful way. This includes investments in business enablers such as customized deal structures and facilitating access to measurement and mentorship tools, which are often a barrier for small and emerging businesses. In addition, in May of 2021 we will launch our Diverse Owned Media Upfront. The process, which is a dedicated briefing to diverse media owners that encourages partners and potential partners to submit business proposals, will be accredited by a third-party to ensure fairness and transparency. As the company with the largest diversity media spend in our industry, we are committed to evaluating our approach on a regular basis to ensure we maintain our leadership position.”

You can read GM’s full statement responding to Diddy here.