Sean 'Diddy' Combs was honored last night by the National Action Network (NAN) at the organization’s 3rd annual Triumph Awards held in New York City. Combs, best known as the hip-hop pioneer who ushered the industry into an era of flamboyance and materialism, gave what was quite possibly the most humble speech of his career.
Combs seemed more mature as he praised Rev. Al Sharpton, the founder of NAN, for his community work and paid homage to the black leaders who he said had essentially paved the way for the hip-hop movement -- and ultimately his personal success.
From Combs' acceptance speech:
When you get a chance to get honored with an award, especially an award of this magnitude, it truly makes you reflect. Number one you ask yourself the question, especially if it’s not an award you were going after, like I always wanted a Grammy. So I was going after that. So then, you know, when you get an award of this magnitude by such a prestigious organization you ask yourself, 'are you truly worthy of this award?' And for me, I had to be honest with myself. I had to honestly look at those have come before me and the responsibility that they’ve taken on, have took on, and honestly spawning me and a generation of young people like me to just feel like the things we were able to do, we were able to do it just through the hip-hip spirit and the hip-hop culture. Which the truth is our culture of having a sense of entitlement that we deserve to be treated fairly and we deserve to have swag and be leaders, actually came from those who came before us, like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Quincy Jones, Clarence Avon and Rev. Al Sharpton, who I think deserves a special round of applause, not only for what he’s done in the community but for the way he’s wearing that suit tonight.
Combs went on to express his appreciation for Sharpton, describing him as a father figure and citing the death of his own father when he was a child. He said he had reached out to Sharpton on many occasions during times of trouble, and that he also felt the need to seek out the civil rights leader for a more meaningful purpose, such as how to use his platform to give back.
He also discussed his personal evolution, saying the success he experienced early in his career played a role in stunting his personal development, but that having children -- which he described as a “wake up call" -- forced him to evolve into a more complete individual.