Even though the movie Black Panther broke box-office records, Sean “Diddy” Combs is not convinced the ground-breaking film with a predominately Black cast and Black director will open up the flood-gates for opportunities in Hollywood.
In fact, Diddy calls Marvel’s first Black superhero film a “cruel experiment because we live in 2018 and it’s the first time that the film industry gave us a fair playing field on a worldwide blockbuster, and the hundreds of millions it takes to make it,” he told Variety.
While Black Panther made more money than anticipated, Diddy believes it opened up more problems, and calls it a small baby step toward the diversity issue that has plagued Hollywood where more whites sit at the top making decisions to greenlight ground-breaking projects like Black Panther and Black people are still at the boughs of the industry fighting to make a break-through.
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“For all the billions of dollars that these Black executives have been able to make them, [there’s still hesitation] to put them in the top-level positions,” Diddy said of industries at large.
“They’ll go and they’ll recruit cats from overseas. It makes sense to give [executives of color] a chance and embrace the evolution, instead of it being that we can only make it to president, senior VP. … There’s no Black CEO of a major record company. That’s just as bad as the fact that there are no [Black] majority owners in the NFL . That’s what really motivates me.”
The rapper and business mogul admits that Black Panther’s success didn’t surprise him, given that Black creatives stay ready to “over-deliver” when given the resources and right opportunities.
“You can’t do anything without that money, without resources,” Diddy told Variety.
“But when we do get the resources, we over-deliver. When Adidas invests in Kanye and it’s done properly, you have the right results. When Live Nation invests in artists and puts them in arenas the same way U2 would be, you have the right results. ‘Black Panther,’ ‘Black-ish,’ fashion; it’s all about access. If you’re blocked out of the resources, you can’t compete. And that’s my whole thing — to be able to come and compete.”
Black Panther stands as the highest grossing superhero film in the U.S. with $699 million. With fingers crossed, the superhero movie just may snatch an Oscar next year. Read more of Diddy’s Variety cover story.