Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs has officially reached another career landmark. The legendary music mogul was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2022 BET Music Awards, featuring an all-star tribute full of the Hip-Hop pioneer’s long list of collaborators and Bad Boy artists.
Diddy’s family and friends were on hand to see him receive the honor in recognition of his pivotal contributions to Hip-Hop and R&B, namely the creation of Bad Boy Records and the cultivation of a sound that defined 90’s Hip-hop, establishing The Notorious B.I.G., Mary J. Blige, 112, Ma$e, Black Rob, Total, Faith Evans, The Lox and more as certified stars. The mogul even walked the red carpet with his mother Janice Combs and sons Quincy, Justin, and Christian Combs as his dates for the evening.
The honor was initiated by a video montage narrated by Jay-Z, who described Diddy’s legacy as one that showed young Black kids from meager beginnings that becoming a mogul on a scale as large as his is a possibility, inspiring generations to follow.
To honor his impact, Bad Boy stars performed a musical tribute, moving chronologically through the years of Diddy’s Bady Boy production and artistic legacy.
Jodeci opened with a performance of their 1991 hit “Come and Talk to Me,” followed by Mary J. Blige hitting the stage with her 1994 classic hit “I’m Going Down.”
Diddy himself then hit the stage, decked his classic Bad Boy style, wearing a black leather karate gi-style outfit, black tee, and a black Bad Boy fitted cap.
Shyne shocked the crowd by joining Diddy on stage to perform “Bad Boys,” making a rare appearance in both on stage and in the U.S. after relocating to Belize and getting into politics. Next, transitioning from “I need a Girl Part II,” Diddy launched into “All about the Benjamins,” accompanied by The Lox and Lil Kim, before launching into “Pass the Courvoisier” with Busta Rhymes, cleverly updating the lyrics to “pass the Ciroc this way.”
Looking to the future, Bryson Tiller joined Diddy onstage to perform his newest single “Gotta Move On.” Next, a projection of Kim Porter congratulating Diddy on his 2008 Star on the Hollywood walk of fame filled the screen, leading to a performance of “I’ll Be Missing You” accompanied by Faith Evans and the Maverick City Choir.
With the retrospective honor complete, Babyface took the stage to present the award trophy to Diddy, leading with an anecdote about first meeting him through the late Andre Harrell, who heralded Diddy’s work ethic. After inviting the young producer to join him in Lake Tahoe on a ski trip, Diddy refused a ski instructor despite not actually knowing how to ski. After falling fantastically, he gathered himself to learn in the moment. “Even the mountain couldn’t tell Puffy no,” Babyface concluded. “Nobody tells Puffy no.”
In a surprise appearance, Babyface introduced Ye (Kanye West) to the stage with kind words about how he was inspired by Diddy
“How do we crown our kings? How do we appreciate our kings? To think how far we can make it off of just inspiration, hearing how someone chops together a sample,” Ye said, recounting how he used to buy Bad Boy mixtapes and replay them over and over, trying his best to emulate Diddy’s production style. “I was signed to Puff without him knowing,” he laughed, noting that it was not a legally binding statement.
“I go to him for advice to this day. He inspires so many of my life choices, my wife choices…and here we are today,” he joked. “Thanks for that, Puff.”
“He broke down so many doors of classism, taste, culture, swag. Puff if I never told you, I love you.”
Diddy then took the stage himself to accept his honor, excitedly jumping up and down at the podium and smiling, while the camera panned to his girlfriend Yung Miami holding up a sign saying “Go Papi.”
Diddy started by thanking God and honoring his mother, who he admired for working multiple jobs and shifts while he tirelessly pursued his dreams.
“Thank you to all of my fans who have been with me for over 25 years, I love you,” he said. “Don’t talk love, be love,” he continued citing his latest moniker of ‘Love.’ He also thanked friends who had passed on, Andre Harrell, Heavy D, Notorious B.I.G., and lastly Kim Porter, whim he said he still misses to this day.
“I was in a dark place for a few years,” the mogul noted, thanking Bishop T.D. Jakes and choreographer and friend Laurieann Gibson for helping him see the light through difficulty, finally thanking his ex-girlfriend “Cassie, for holding me down in the dark times.”
“We aren’t here just for ourselves, we’re here for our ancestors,” Diddy closed his speech. “God put it on my heart and gave me this message to give to you; The time is now. I’ve got this new dream of Black people being free. Of us controlling our own destiny, taking accountability and not killing each other, being rich, wealthy, and living on the same block.”
To that end, Diddy paid the honor forward, pledging to donate $1 million to his alma mater Howard University stating “I wouldn’t be here without Howard University,” and another $1 million toward Jackson State, “because we should play for us,” citing Deion Sanders’ coaching at the HBCU.