Home » African-American mogul Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs wants BET to be Black-owned again

African-American mogul Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs wants BET to be Black-owned again

by Omokolade Ajayi
Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs

Sean “Diddy” Combs, the most recent Black billionaire in the US, has announced his intention to acquire a majority stake in BET Media Group, stating his desire to restore Black ownership to the company.

The latest statement by the African-American singer and businessman comes three days after he expressed interest in the acquisition of the media group, which serves African-American audiences exclusively.

Sean “Diddy” Combs’ decision to pursue a controlling stake in BET Media Group follows the recent announcement by its parent company, Paramount Global, that it is considering the sale of a majority interest in the business, which includes BET, VH1, and the BET+ streaming service. 

Paramount executives have suggested that such a sale could unlock significant value for the media assets, particularly if they were acquired by a consortium of wealthy Black individuals and institutions, who may be better positioned to maximize their potential than the current corporate owners.

What Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs is saying

In a recent Instagram post, Sean “Diddy” Combs confirmed reports that he is seeking to acquire a controlling stake in BET Media Group. In his post, Combs emphasized the need for greater ownership, influence, and control by people of color in the media industry, which he described as the “most powerful industry in the world.”

He expressed his intention to purchase a majority stake in BET with the goal of restoring Black ownership of the company and empowering Black voices to shape their own narratives. Combs also called for unity among leaders in the culture to join him in pursuing this goal, emphasizing the importance of pooling their power and resources to effect real change.

“It’s time for BET to be Black-owned again, so we have the power to tell our own stories and control our own narrative! This is not about me; it’s about WE,” Combs wrote. “I’m building a team of leaders in the culture to pursue ownership in BET together! “We have to unify our power and resources to create real change!”

Tracing BET’s history: America’s first Black-owned cable television network

Black Entertainment Television (BET) was launched on January 25, 1980, as America’s first Black-owned cable television network, by Black businessman Robert L. Johnson, after he stepped down as a lobbyist for the cable industry.

In 2001, BET was acquired by Viacom (now Paramount Global) in a landmark $3 billion deal that made Robert Johnson the first Black billionaire. Despite the change in ownership, BET continued to serve as a leading source of entertainment for African-American audiences, and in 2022 it generated an estimated revenue of $1.5 billion.

While Paramount intends to sell a majority stake in BET Media Group in the near future, the company has stated its plans to retain a minority stake and maintain a commercial relationship with the media asset. 

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