It has been officially announced that Bad Boy Entertainment founder and hip-hop legend Diddy, formerly known as Puff Daddy, will receive the Harlem Icon Award this year. The Apollo Theatre has recognised the Harlem-born mogul, businessman and multi-millionaire for contributing to hip-hop and the wider community.
Diddy lived in Harlem until the age of 12 and travelled between the Harlem and Mount Vernon neighbourhoods during the late-1980s. His involvement in the Manhattan hip-hop scene got him noticed by Andre Harrell, the then-president of Uptown Records, who hired Diddy, and ever since the music executive (real name Sean Combs) has been a mainstay in the culture.
The prestigious award will be given to Diddy at a ceremony on June 12th at the iconic Apollo Theatre. Taking to Instagram, Diddy posted a video declaring, “Wassup Harlem, I’m coming Home! Monday, I’ll be there, getting that Apollo Icon Award. And you know it’s up. So if you in the city all the Harlemites, ya’ll know I ain’t got everybody’s number, but I plan on seeing you, and drinks is on Diddy.”
He continued, “Yeah. The champ is coming back home. The King is coming back home. The son is coming back home. Harlem, Harlem, Harlem. I’m coming back home.” Combs only moved out of the deprived inner-city to the suburban region of Mount Vernon due to his mother’s fears following the murder of his father (Melvin Earl Combs) in uptown Manhattan.
With the majority of his family members still residing in Harlem, Combs spent much of his time in the African-American Manhattan neighbourhood. The Apollo Theatre has an iconic legacy as one of the first movie theatres to cater specifically to African-Americans. The fundraiser ceremony will be investing all the proceeds in the venue’s innovative performing arts, education and community initiatives that serve 200,000 people every year.
A multitude of awards will be bestowed upon individuals. Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will receive the Impact Award, and businesswoman Warby Parker will collect the Outstanding Leadership in Innovation, Diversity, and Global Community award.
There will be several performances during the ceremony including sets from the likes of MC Lyte Wyclef Jean and DJ D-Nice will also perform DJ sets to celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop ahead of the official performance set to take place at the Yankee Stadium.