LOS ANGELES—Sean “Diddy” Combs wants to strengthen the Black dollar: The music mogul is spearheading a new online marketplace called Empower Global that will specifically feature Black-owned businesses.
“I want to create our own Black Wall Street,” Mr. Combs told The Associated Press about his e-commerce platform, which launched in mid-July. He feels passionate about building substantial wealth in his community similar to the Greenwood community, the thriving Black-owned business district in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that was decimated in a two-day attack by a White mob in Oklahoma in 1921.
Mr. Combs said he’s not looking for financial benefit after he invested $20 million into Empower Global, which allows consumers to purchase products exclusively created and sold by Black entrepreneurs.
The curated marketplace featuring Black-owned brands will allow consumers to purchase clothing, shoes, beauty accessories including skincare and fragrances, and even wall art. The platform was designed and created by two Black-owned companies, TechSparq and ChatDesk.
The platform launched with 70 brands with plans to introduce new Black businesses monthly. He hopes to showcase more than 200 brands by the end of the year.
“This is about building our own infrastructure and ecosystem,” Mr. Combs said. “I’m not doing this for profit. This is about us.” Mr. Combs said he feels more excited about launching into Empower Global than before the start of his widely popular label Bad Boy Records.
“I’m going into these areas to diversify things and fight for our inclusion. This is a platform about sharing power and empowering each other,” he said. “This is something that is for my people. It’s a tipping point for us to wake up start paying attention and supporting each other while taking responsibility and accountability.”
Mr. Combs, who’s worked on the platform for years, said it’s important for Black people to circulate money in their own community. “It benefits the community to empower and take care of itself,” he said. “Right now, our dollar in the Black community doesn’t even last an hour. Most other communities and ethnic groups, they understand the power of unity. Their dollars stay in their communities for days and get passed on to other people that are like them and from their same community.”
Mr. Combs said he’s accomplished his dreams of building one of hip-hop’s biggest empires, blazing a trail with several entities. He’s the founder of Bad Boy Records and a three-time Grammy winner who has worked with top-tier artists including Notorious B.I.G., Mary J. Blige, Usher, Lil Kim, Faith Evans and 112.
He created the Sean John fashion clothing line, launched the Revolt TV with a focus on music. He also produced the reality show “Making the Band” on MTV.
“My dreams have always been to be successful in music, being obsessed with fashion and the greatest Black serial entrepreneur to ever live,” said Mr. Combs, who along with Tyler Perry and Byron Allen is interested in purchasing the network BET.
“I’ve graduated from me to we. I’m able to use my God-given intelligence to create,” he said. “I’m passionate about the possibility of showing Black economic unity. I’m not going to stop until I’m working with the best brands, the best Black-owned digital mainstream, so we can start fueling our own economic system.” (AP)