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Howard University students split over Diddy commen

 
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SamoneLenior View Drop Down
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    Posted: Apr 18 2014 at 11:24am

Howard University students split over Diddy commencement speech controversy



Sean 'Diddy' Combs attends the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 20, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Clear Channel)

Not long after Howard University confirmed Sean “Diddy” Combs as its next commencement speaker, a slew of mixed emotions and views from students, alumni, and friends of the university filled the social media airways.

Some people have applauded the university for finally solidifying a relationship with a longtime unofficial alumnus, while others questioned Diddy’s caliber as a role model for this year’s graduates.

“When we are considering commencement speakers, I think we should hold our alum to a certain standard,” says Geoffrey Witherspoon II, a third-year law student at Howard University. “I don’t think of whether or not he graduated. A lot of influential people didn’t graduate from college. I would just feel much more comfortable with having an alum come back and speak to us who wasn’t just present when we had to give him an award or when we were throwing a party.”

Diddy has been compared to the likes of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Steve Jobs — all entrepreneurs who dropped out of school, became widely successful, and were later asked to speak at their alma mater’s commencement.  After two years as a business major, Diddy left Howard in 1990 to intern at Uptown Records and kick-start his music career in New York. Today, he is the world’s highest-paid hip-hop artist with an estimated net worth of $580 million.

Although he’s not an official alum of Howard, he got his start in music by throwing parties on campus and has previously credited the university for helping to inspire his business acumen.

It is this fact that makes two-time Howard graduate Marcus Ware an enthusiastic supporter of the Diddy commencement invite and sees it as an opportunity to leverage the hip-hop mogul’s affinity for the university.

“It just makes perfect sense for anyone to cultivate that relationship. He has the resources and means to rally support for the university,” said Ware.

Ware, who currently serves as Senior Relationship Manager for the United Negro College Fund, says this decision should be an example for other HBCUs to emulate.

“Obviously a lot of HBCUs do not cultivate these kinds of relationships which is why they’re in the situation they’re in today. One thing I will say about HBCUs is that our fundraising mechanisms and our relationship building capacities has been minimized over the years,” said Ware.

He believes that those complaining about Diddy’s brand aren’t doing him justice.

“I think if you ask 5 different people, they will give you 5 different answers on what Diddy’s brand is. He is a very multifaceted, smart, and savvy businessman. If anyone is a fan of the institution, we should be willing to hear what they have to say.”

It seems the underlying catalyst for such mixed perspectives stems from the instability of Howard’s brand this past year, from the removal of President Sidney Ribeau to contention with board of trustees.

There’s even been rumors of the University facing financial woes. From a PR perspective, this could be the last thing the university needs.

“We have been in the press [for] everything from [Homecoming] going awry to funding with the hospital,” says Michael Fraser, a 2008 graduate of Howard. “I would think they would get a figure that could lift the school’s image.”

Daniel White, a junior at the University, says he’s heard current students share Fraser’s sentiment.

“Some people are kind of mad because of what Diddy may represent. Because he’s a hip-hop mogul and liquor salesman,” says White, who serves as Opinions Editor at the school’s newspaper, The Hilltop. “He’s this guy who made it off the skills he figured he could do and not the degree that he didn’t get.” White says Diddy’s commencement address is expected to be a major topic in their graduation issue.

White adds, however, he’s actually excited to hear from Diddy and thinks associating Howard with his brand is the right move for the University.

“I personally think Diddy is the right choice and a bright-line success story for Howard students. I’m just curious and want to see what he has to say.”

That’s one thing everyone can agree on. Whether for or against Diddy speaking, he’ll soon have one of the most prestigious stages and platforms under his feet — so everyone is going to be listening intently.

“I mean, I’m not going to boycott graduation. I’ve been here for 7 years. When I looked forward to May 17, 2014, I wasn’t thinking P.Diddy as a top choice but I understand his story,” said White.

Sean “Diddy” Combs (a.k.a. Puff Daddy) will deliver the 146th commencement address at Howard University on Saturday, May 10, 2014 and receive an honorary doctorate in humanities at the convocation.




Edited by SamoneLenior - Apr 18 2014 at 11:27am
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liesnalibis View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote liesnalibis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 18 2014 at 11:27am
Not guilty and I'm filthy, come on...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote Tbaby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 18 2014 at 11:32am
I'm on the fence about this. 

There's no argument that Puffy is rich, got some business sense, yada yada yada.  But is he really a role model that we want today's youth to admire and aspire to be?  Hmmmm....and give him a doctorate?Pinch

There are many other black men and women who are successful and aint hawking booze and rap.  Get one of them instead!

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SamoneLenior View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SamoneLenior Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 18 2014 at 11:39am

not to compare, just curious

how many other black (aa or non-aa) college dropouts are now multimillionaires....like worth at least 25 mil or so (yall can pick another number if you want I just picked that one)

also, should extremely successful college dropouts, no matter who they are, ever give commencement speeches?
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Samoneisthebest View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Samoneisthebest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 18 2014 at 11:53am
I like the point about the commencement speaker being an *active* alumni.

Edited by Samoneisthebest - Apr 18 2014 at 11:54am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Samoneisthebest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 18 2014 at 11:55am
What's wrong with having your own brand of liquor?

Y'all don't like liquor?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carolina cutie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 18 2014 at 11:59am
I see both sides.

He's an HU dropout who is a rich businessman/rapper/clothing designer who can give a good speech.

On the other hand,

He's a dropout who made a lot of money rappin' about things...expensive things and women.

With that being said, Dr. Clive Callender (Black heart surgeon, hello!) will be there as well and should be speaking.
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SamoneLenior View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SamoneLenior Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 18 2014 at 12:01pm

Diddy also makes HU homecoming what it is

lol no one would care about their homecoming if it wasn't for him
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (8) Thanks(8)   Quote kfoxx1998 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 18 2014 at 12:08pm
This is so tired.  He has proven himself to be more successful than most will ever be.  When does it become okay to just be you?  Bill Gates dropped out of college to pursue his passions too but that is NEVER mentioned.  Black Billionaires still gotta be graduates but white ones can damn near be elected president.  This is why we can't have nice things. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (4) Thanks(4)   Quote kfoxx1998 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 18 2014 at 12:09pm
Okay that was right in the articleEmbarrassed.  Yeah, guarantee you nobody would say sh*t if was Jobs or Gates. 


Edited by kfoxx1998 - Apr 18 2014 at 12:09pm
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