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Miss Diddy On How She Hustled Her Way From Selling Insurance To The Only Woman Promoter In Hollywood
Prince Williams/WireImage

Miss Diddy On How She Hustled Her Way From Selling Insurance To The Only Woman Promoter In Hollywood

While most promoters were busy being the life of the party, Miss Diddy was creating the party and married together nightlife and entertainment

Business

On a Sunday night when most people are turning in, HYDE Sunset is just turning up.

I walk in just shy of midnight and already the swanky nightclub is packed. Partygoers flank to the VIP sections where bottles of champagne and various liquors are popped, followed by an influx of beautiful women in taut dresses hoping to cop free libations for the night. The DJ announces the arrival of Chris Brown, just a few minutes after I spot Marlon Wayans and King Bach strolling by. Forty-five minutes in I look up from my phone just in time to lock eyes with the woman responsible for bringing the party to life. Miss Diddy rushes up to me in her six-inch heels and a tan-colored dress, pulling me by the hand as she rushes back out the door to meet with one of her many celebrity guests for the evening before escorting us to her designated section across from the DJ booth.


“It’s crazy, girl!” Miss Diddy says to me before checking her phone and dashing off again.

Though she’s known for her Rolodex of celebrity friends and clients, if you ask Miss Diddy, she’s a superstar in her own right. “Anyone knows when I walk in the room I kind of light it up,” she says. “Everything kind of gravitates to me and it’s always if they don’t know they’ll be like who is she? I’ve always had a star power.”

“Anyone knows when I walk in the room I kind of light it up. I’ve always had a star power.”

What can easily be considered cockiness is really an air of confidence. When Miss Diddy speaks, it’s with a certain assuredness that indicates that she knows who she is, and she’ll be damned if you don’t know it, too. She gets it from her mama, she tells me, a woman who could command a room as soon as she walked in the door.

Despite being a self-proclaimed shy gal, Miss Diddy says that ironically she always thrived in social environments, and soon learned to embrace her strong personality and hustler mentality that would eventually lead her to becoming Hollywood’s only female promoter. But before she could assume the role of becoming the “It Girl” of urban nightlife, she first had to figure out what it was that she was actually purposed to do. “I begged God for my purpose actually,” she says. “I begged him to release it to me. And I remember the first time I understood the importance of what I was seeking for, he told me that it was too big; I can’t show you that.”

As a kid growing up in Compton, Miss Diddy was free to explore anything that captured her interest, from hair and makeup to sewing. “In my house, we weren’t booked bashed, and it freed me to be able to really explore things that I was great at.”

But being born into a family of creatives (her dad was a musician and her great grandmother wrote songs with Mahalia Jackson), Diddy—a nickname gifted to her by her high school buddies—naturally gravitated to entertainment. During her second year of college, she found more value in street smarts than book smarts and decided to drop out in pursuit of real-world experiences. Her first taste of working in the industry came soon after when John Monopoly, former manager for Kanye West, offered her a job doing the west coast promotions for the G.O.O.D. Music label.

Miss Diddy excelled by doing what she does best—connecting people. She gathered a group of 20 beautiful women who deemed themselves as the “G.O.O.D. Girls” and took over street team marketing and promotions for the label. Simultaneously she was still working in insurance, but the money didn’t make up for her lack of fulfillment. When she had a sudden revelation that she no longer belonged with that company, she walked out of her job the same day and never looked back.

“I remember sitting in my office and he was like this is your last day here,” she discloses in an interview with Jocelyn Vega. “I started picking up stuff from my office in my office and taking it slowly down to my car that day.”

Thank to her industry connections and mentors such as Kenny Burns, she was able to transition into being a full-time promoter. “A lot of times you start as a promoter and then you go to a higher level and then you’re lucky if you’re able to get a music industry job, but I came in with a Rolodex of really great connections. I also sat under Kanye and John—guys whose vision were so crazy and phenomenal in how they view things.”

Her years of learning under her mentors paid off, and true to the Diddy moniker, she went above and beyond to make her name a staple in lifestyle marketing. While most promoters were busy being the life of the party, Miss Diddy was creating the party and married together nightlife and entertainment through star-studded events.

“I was able to look almost from a third eye and really see what was missing and what I can bring to the table because I’m a very business-minded by nature, and a lot of promoters aren’t. I don’t care about sitting here and partying and drinking. I’m not doing any of that. How do we maximize it to make the most of it? What’s going to make this party bigger? What’s going to make it greater? What’s going to make this moment last longer than Usher’s having a party? And we did it every week. It was also important for me to be able to put my artist friends in positions to win.”

"It was also important for me to be able to put my artist friends in positions to win.”

But Diddy wasn’t just satisfied with the applause, she wanted the recognition, too, and to take control of her success by being her own boss. “I was a tour manager with an artist that was a close friend of mine since I was a kid, and we parted ways and I said I never want to be in the position again where someone is able to dictate my livelihood, and I went to go start The Brand Group, and it just went crazy.”

The full-service marketing and PR firm, which currently has a staff of ten employees, solidified Diddy as a branding connoisseur, and soon she was getting calls from clients such as Russell Simmons for re-branding of All Def Comedy Live and celebrity and lifestyle brands looking to get her Midas touch.

On any given day the culture queen has her plate filled with creative meetings to overseeing event production. Having a consistent prayer life keeps her calm in the midst of the daily storms. “It takes a tough and graceful person to be in the position that I’m in. It’s not something that’s easy for anyone. You have to be very levelheaded if you want to be successful, “ Diddy says.

Of course, being the only female in a male-dominated industry isn’t easy; however, being one who can hold her own without getting caught up in the he say she say enables her to strut in her six-inch Louboutins while still getting things done. “In this business the way you’re perceived and viewed is everything,” says Diddy. “I’ve been lucky and blessed to be a very, very respected woman. And I’ve also been blessed to have great work ethic and to have results. I understood that the details don’t matter, they want results. And that’s what I was always able to provide so no one could negate my work, no one could act as if my work didn’t speak for itself, and I think that’s really what it was for me.”

"In this business the way you’re perceived and viewed is everything."

As much as she enjoys living life amongst the rich and the famous, Diddy believes that this is only just the beginning of what she is destined to do. Although she still has a goal of creating a positive impact on the same inner cities that she came from, she’s no longer putting herself on a set timeline to achieve certain goals. “By the time I was 25, I thought I would have bought my mom a Jaguar and I’d have a kid, but life happens. Life evolves, and as long as you’re on track, that’s all that matters.”

But by no means does that mean that this girl boss is going to sit idly by while pursuing a path of purpose, nor is she limiting herself to just being the only woman promoter in L.A. “I’m still a work in progress following God’s dream. Whatever God leads me to do and opens doors for, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Featured image by Prince Williams/WireImage

Black Women, We Deserve More

When the NYT posted an article this week about the recent marriage of a Black woman VP of a multi-billion-dollar company and a Black man who took her on a first date at the parking lot of a Popeyes, the reaction on social media was swift and polarizing. The two met on Hinge and had their parking lot rendezvous after he’d canceled their first two dates. When the groom posted a photo from their wedding on social media, he bragged about how he never had “pressure” to take her on “any fancy dates or expensive restaurants.”

It’s worth reading on your own to get the full breadth of all the foolery that transpired. But the Twitter discourse it inspired on what could lead a successful Black woman to accept lower than bare minimum in pursuit of a relationship and marriage, made me think of the years of messaging that Black women receive about how our standards are too high and what we have to “bring to the table” in order to be "worthy" of what society has deemed is the ultimate showing of our worth: a marriage to a man.

That's right, the first pandemic I lived through was not Covid, but the pandemic of the Black male relationship expert. I was young – thirteen to be exact – when Steve Harvey published his best-selling book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. Though he was still just a stand-up comedian, oversized suit hoarder, and man on his third marriage at the time, his relationship advice was taken as the gospel truth.

The 2000s were a particularly bleak time to be a single Black woman. Much of the messaging –created by men – that surrounded Black women at the time blamed their desire for a successful career and for a partner that matched their drive and ambition for the lack of romance in their life. Statistics about Black women’s marriageability were always wielded against Black women as evidence of our lack of desirability.

It’s no wonder then that a man that donned a box cut well into the 2000s was able to convince women across the nation to not have sex for the first three months of a relationship. Or that a slew of other Black men had their go at telling Black women that they’re not good enough and why their book, seminar, or show will be the thing that makes them worthy of a Good Man™.

This is how we end up marrying men who cancel twice before taking us on a “date” in the Popeyes parking lot, or husbands writing social media posts about how their Black wife is not “the most beautiful” or “the most intelligent” or the latest season of trauma dumping known as Black Love on OWN.

Now that I’ve reached my late twenties, many things about how Black women approach dating and relationships have changed and many things have remained the same. For many Black women, the idea of chronic singleness is not the threat that it used to be. Wanting romance doesn’t exist in a way that threatens to undermine the other relationships we have with our friends, family, and ourselves as it once did, or at least once was presented to us. There is a version of life many of us are embracing where a man not wanting us, is not the end of what could still be fruitful and vibrant life.

There are still Black women out there however who have yet to unlearn the toxic ideals that have been projected onto us about our worthiness in relation to our intimate lives. I see it all the time online. The absolute humiliation and disrespect some Black women are willing to stomach in the name of being partnered. The hoops that some Black women are willing to jump through just to receive whatever lies beneath the bare minimum.

It's worth remembering that there are different forces at play that gather to make Black women feast off the scraps we are given. A world saturated by colorism, fatphobia, anti-Blackness, ableism, and classism will always punish Black women who demand more for themselves. Dismantling these systems also means divesting from any and everything that makes us question our worth.

Because truth be told, Black women are more than worthy of having a love that is built on mutual respect and admiration. A love that is honey sweet and radiates a light that rivals the sun. A love that is a steadying calming force that doesn’t bring confusion or anxiety. Black women deserve a love that is worthy of the prize that we are.

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Featured image: Getty Images

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