Sean "Diddy" Combs is calling for racial equity in America's economy after years of what he calls exploitation of the Black community.
In an open letter he penned to corporate America's leaders that was published on his REVOLT network on Thursday, the mogul, 51, specifically addressed the disproportionately low amount of advertising spending that major companies, including General Motors, offer to Black-owned businesses. According to Diddy, né Sean Combs, such corporations publicly credit themselves for supporting Black-owned businesses, but their contributions are often minuscule.
"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 Grammy Award winner began. "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 detailed.
In a financial overview of GM's earnings, released by Statista on Feb. 22, the report stated that GM earned $122 billion dollars in U.S. revenue in the 2020 fiscal year — though the data did not identify the specifics behind the company's earnings.
Last month, NBC News reported that Mary Barra, chairman and CEO of General Motors Co., did not respond to the request of several Black-owned media executives, including Ice Cube, to "resolve this very important issue and have a long-term partnership that's mutually beneficial for General Motors and the African American consumers." (The request was made in a full-page ad placed in a local Detroit newspaper, where GM's headquarters are based.)
After Barra, 59, declined to address the matter, GM spokesman Pat Morrissey said in a statement, per NBC, that the company spends "significantly" more than .5 percent with black-owned media. He did not provide any additional information.
A spokesperson for GM did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
Diddy continued in his open letter, "No longer can corporate America manipulate our culture into believing incremental progress is acceptable action."
"Corporations like General Motors have exploited our culture, undermined our power and excluded Black entrepreneurs from participating in the value created by Black consumers," the Combs Enterprises magnate continued. "We demand that corporate America reinvest an equitable percentage of what you take from our community back into our community."
He went on to cite the Visual Capitalist, saying, "In 2019, brands spent $239 billion on advertising. Less than 1% of that was invested in Black-owned media companies."
Combs also quoted theologist Desmon Tutu, 89, writing, "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."
Added the multi-millionaire, "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, General Motors is telling us to sit down, shut up and be happy with what we get," he wrote.
"We demand that corporate America reinvest an equitable percentage of what you take from our community back into our community," he stated in his final call to action. "If the Black community represents 15% of your revenue, Black-owned media should receive at least 15% of the advertising spend."
Diddy emphasized, "It's disrespectful that Black-owned media companies only represent 1% of the total advertising market. It's disrespectful that distributors refuse to carry Black-owned media brands in an era where our impact and influence is undeniable. It's disrespectful that the same community that represents [almost] 14% of the population [in the U.S.] and spends over $1.4 trillion annually [in the U.S., according to data obtained by the Catalyst] is still the most economically undervalued and underserved at every level."
DeLeón Tequila's owner closed his open letter writing, "If you love us, pay us! Not [just] a token investment. Not a charity check or donation. "
"The time is now!" Diddy concluded. "Radical change is the only option. You're either with us or you are on the other side."
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