Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs spearheads new ‘Black Wall Street’ through online marketplace Empower Global
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,” Combs said about his e-commerce platform, which launched last week. 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.
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.
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The curated marketplace featuring Black-owned brands will allow consumers to purchase clothing, shoes, beauty accessories including skin care 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,” Combs said. “I’m not doing this for profit. This is about us.”
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.”
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.”
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 and has his own vodka. 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 Combs, who along with Tyler Perry and Byron Allen is interested in purchasing the network BET. He’s also in a dispute with spirits giant Diageo after he sued the company over allegations of racism over how they handled his liquor brands. Diageo has denied Combs’ racism allegations, saying the issue is a “business dispute.”
“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.”
Notable companies founded by Black entrepreneurs
Notable companies founded by Black entrepreneurs
James Forten: Sailmaker and abolitionist
Paul Cuffee: Whaler and merchant
Thomas Jennings: First African American patent-holder
Stephen Smith: Lumber business owner
Clara Brown: Laundry tycoon and gold mine investor
Lewis Temple: Blacksmith and abolitionist
Lunsford Lane: Enterprising salesman
William Leidesdorff: Real estate mogul and trade aficionado
Frederick Douglass: The North Star
Samuel T. Wilcox: Wholesale and retail grocery
Christiana Carteaux Bannister: The ‘hair doctress’
Joseph Lee: Woodland Park Hotel
Sarah E. Goode: Foldaway bed inventor
Granville Woods: Woods Electric Company
Charles H. James: C.H. James & Co.
John Merrick: Co-founder, North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company
Alonzo Herndon: Atlanta Life
Robert Reed Church: Solvent Savings Bank and Trust
Sarah Breedlove: Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company
Elijah McCoy: Elijah McCoy Manufacturing Company
Leon H. Washington Jr.: The Los Angeles Sentinel
John H. Johnson: Johnson Publishing Company, Inc.
Rose Meta Morgan: Freedom National Bank
Mamon Powers Sr.: Powers and Sons Construction Company
Kevin Cohee: Unity Bank & Trust Company
Edward Lewis, Clarence O. Smith, Cecil Hollingsworth, and Jonathan Blount: Essence Communications Inc.
Earl G. Graves Sr.: Black Enterprise magazine
Janice Bryant Howroyd: ActOne Group
Sheila and Robert L. Johnson: BET
Reginald F. Lewis: TLC Beatrice International Holdings, Inc.
Chris Gardner: Gardner Rich & Co.
Oprah Winfrey: Harpo Studios
David Steward: World Wide Technology
Daymond Garfield John: FUBU
Sean Combs: Bad Boy Entertainment
George Foreman: Foreman Grill
Jay-Z: Roc-A-Fella Records
Albert R. Grace Jr.: Loop Capital Markets
Ronald E. Hall Sr.: Bridgewater Interiors
Rebecca Enonchong: AppsTech
Ulysses Lee ‘Junior’ Bridgeman: Manna, Inc.
Andrea and Henry Jackson: Millennium Steel Service
William ‘Bill’ Cooley: Systems Electro Coating
Sheila C. Johnson: Salamander Hotels & Resorts
Dr. Dre: Beats
Billy R. Vickers: Modular Assembly Innovations LLC