Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It's the D-the I-the-D-theD-the Y

Last night I went to see a taping of Inside the Actor’s Studio at Pace University. Sean “Puffy,” “Puff Daddy,” “P-Diddy,” “Diddy” Combs was the guest. I learned several things last night:

--Diddy (inventor of the diddy-bop) is an excellent dancer. Yes, James Lipton made him dance on stage, and the audience loved it
--James Lipton CANNOT rap, though he writes a mean internal rhyme
--Diddy was very pretigiously educated in Catholic private schools, and went to Howard University.
--Diddy’s mom has the same name as I do
--Diddy’s mom used to work at an “after hours spot” along with 4 other jobs to support her kids after her hubby was killed in a drug dealer dispute (the after hours spot was also news to Diddy last night)
--Diddy is really cute in person, and so is his son
--People who work in theatre (ahem Diddy’s acting coach ahem) can be EXTREMELY long winded
--Although episodes are only an hour, taping lasts nearly 3 hours. Don’t make my mistake, eat dinner before you go
--People who are from the Bronx WILL cheer anytime you mention it, in any context, even if a show is being taped
--Diddy helped Mary J Blige (one of my favorite artists EVA) to become famous
--The Daddy part of his nickname came from a barber who added it to anyone’s nickname at the end who had good style and because the ladies loved to call him Daddy
--Ludacris just tied Diddy for the most #1 charted hip-hop songs of all time (they each have 5)
--Diddy loves the Lord

However, in the category of things I will never know:

--Diddy refused to reveal where the nickname “Puffy” came from. My first guess would be that it’s from puffing on those marijuana cigarettes.

All joking aside though, it was a really fascinating 2 hours. I think many people look at Diddy and see a one-dimensional man, a hip-hop artist/record exec who produces hip-hop clothing. This could not be farther from the truth. Diddy is a really phenomenal man in his motivation, and his versatility. He succeeded becoming a music producer because he educated himself, and was entirely driven to do so, and worked long hard hours. He made music because he wanted to express his feelings to the world after being a producer in the industry for so long. He succeeded in starting a fashion line because he has style, industry contacts, and wanted to give men, particularly black men, a clothing line that was sharp and defied stereotypes of hip hop artists in baggy pants dropping below the butt and do rags. He is an actor because he went the extra mile of showing up on actor's doorsteps to get the chance to read for a part since no one took him seriously as an actor. Now he’s acting in one of Judd Apatow’s hilarious comedies this June.

Not only does he fight stereotypes (racial, that is, not the ones about rappers loving to roll around in money...) and strive to be a role model, he is extremely charitable. He has donated millions to children’s education in NYC personally, and started an organization to help give kids in underprivileged neighborhoods mind-expanding experiences that hopefully translate to an increased understanding of and curiosity for the world outside their hood. He devoted himself to raising awareness for the power of the young people’s vote in the Vote or Die campaign. He raised over $3 million when he ran the NYC marathon for children’s education in NYC, and though he suffered through the race, he said he would do it again in a heartbeat if someone would donate $10 million.

I am happy that I had the opportunity to watch James Lipton draw out the many sides of Diddy. He is one who has worked really ridiculously hard for all of the good that has come to him. He deserves it, and he is still humble and always looking for something new to try his hand at. You can’t begrudge him that, even if you’re not a fan of his music/clothes/acting abilities/new cologne line.

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