Certified Bad Boy For Life, Sean “Diddy” Combs received his flowers, then some when he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2022 BET Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday.
“To be recognized by your people is such a blessing,” Diddy said of the honor during the pre-show. “I’m humbled, I’m grateful, I don’t take it lightly.”
The tribute began with a video featuring fellow New York rapper Jay-Z explaining how Diddy’s refusal to accept an answer helped break down barriers and redefine culture. Immediately after, Jodeci kicked off the performance with “Come And Talk to Me”, followed by Mary J. Blige with “I’m Goin’ Down”.
Diddy then took the stage himself and performed “Bad Boyz” alongside former Bad Boy and Belizean politician Shyne. The Lox and Lil Kim joined Diddy for “All About The Benjamins.” Diddy also performed his latest single “Gotta Move On” with Bryson Tiller.
Diddy closed the performance with a video of the late Kim Porter, his former partner and mother of three of his children, who died in 2019. In the clip, Porter praises Diddy for his hard work and tells him “you made it.”
Joined by Faith Evans and The Maverick City Choir, he dedicated “I’ll Be Missing You” to Porter.
After the performance, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds presented Diddy with the evening’s highest honor. The songwriter talked about Andre Harrell who introduced him to Diddy as an intern at Uptown Records.
“Nobody says no to Puffy. He’s an amazing person that I’ve come to know over the years,” Babyface said, mentioning how they recently had the chance to work together in the studio. Puffy is a great, serious producer.”
Babyface then introduced surprise guest Ye, formerly known as Kanye West.
“How do we crown our kings. How do we value our kings? You started. He spoke early on about sampling “Benjamins” thinking he was “one of the Hit Men.”
“I was signed to Puff without him knowing,” he said, joking that “this statement is not legally binding!”
Ye then praised Diddy for breaking “the doors of classism, taste, culture, swag”.
“He’s my favorite artist. See, I say favorite artist — everything, not specifically the production, the travel,” he told the audience. “At the time, there were so many rules in the hip-hop and he broke them all Understood contracts in a way a lot of us still don’t Understand money in a way a lot of us still don’t I go to him for advice so far. He has inspired so many of my choices.
As Diddy took the stage for his acceptance speech, he jumped for joy several times, giving the cheering audience a cheery “whaddup doe!”
He first thanked God and then dedicated the day to his mother, Janice Combs, talking about the sacrifices she made working multiple jobs while raising him. He also shouted out the late Andre Harrell, Heavy D, Biggie – who he called “the biggest end point” – and Porter once again.
He also thanked his producers, writers, executives, fans, and his subject alma, Howard University, from which he received an honorary degree in 2014. He also praised Bobby Brown for giving him confidence.
“I have this dream of black people being free,” Diddy said. “I have this dream where we control our own destiny. I have this dream that we take responsibility and stop killing each other. I have this dream of us being rich and rich and living in the same neighborhood. I had this dream of us uniting, not just speaking on stages, but we – we know our community and our allies.
He called on the allies not to be silent and to “put money into the game”. He then said he was donating $1 million to Howard University and Jackson State University each.
Diddy is the latest in a long line of icons to receive this award. Previous recipients include Queen Latifah, Whitney Houston, Samuel L. Jackson and Prince.
Whether you know him as Sean Combs, Puff Daddy, Puffy, P. Diddy or Love, it’s hard not to notice the impact the three-time Grammy winner has had on culture. The New York-born rapper’s three-decade rise to the top began in the early ’90s. He worked for Uptown Records at first but was fired because the label wouldn’t release Notorious BIG’s debut album in because of its explicit content.
Diddy went on to found Bad Boy Records soon after, which became home to artists including Biggie, Faith Evans, Mary J. Blige, The Lox, Lil Kim, 112 and more. Bad Boy Records has become a staple in hip-hop history, delivering classic hits and selling over 100 million records worldwide.
Diddy expanded his empire beyond music and into other industries including television, fashion and beverages. In 1998, he founded the streetwear brand Sean John, for which he won the 2004 CFDA Men’s Designer of the Year award. He recently regained full ownership of the brand after selling it.
From season two in the early 2000s, he oversaw every season of MTV’s “Making The Band,” which spawned Day 26 and Danity Kane. In 2013, Diddy founded Revolt TV, the first black-owned, multi-platform cable music network dedicated to spotlighting the next generation of hip-hop. In 2007, Diddy took over the management of Ciroc and transformed the vodka brand into a multi-million dollar brand and a party staple. In 2014, he bought the premium tequila brand Deleon.
This year, Diddy announced the launch of his new R&B label, Love Records, with Motown Records. The label’s first project will be an album by Diddy himself, slated for release this summer.