Jay Z Heads The Rap Pack

 

Back in the day when I was rocking my Lee jeans and shell toe Adidas and spinning windmills at house parties, my mind could never fathom that the genre of music that I thought belonged to my generation exclusively would grow to dominate and influence the world, much less be mentioned in Forbes.    But it has done just that; despite Gulf Coast oil spills, an on-going war, a wretched global economy and changes within the music industry that have permanently altered the way business is done and new artists are handled, hip-hop is a juggernaut that can not be stopped. 

On August 17, Forbes.com released its annual “Hip-Hop’s Cash Kings” list.  Brooklyn-born rap mogul Jay-Z (Shawn Carter) was ranked number one raking in $63 million over the past year.  Well, it seems that the foundation of “The Roc” was built on moola.  But despite having the bragging rights of being hip-hop’s top earner, Mr. Carter is still not the bread winner in his household.  That honor goes to his wife Beyonce who pulled in a hefty $87 million, now that is bringing home the bacon.  Harlem native Diddy came in at second earning $30 million. 

The secret to their earning ability does not just lie in their lyrical savvy.  Creating a brand that has several streams of revenue is what keeps these artists from being one-note.    For instance, Jigga co-owns the 40/40 nightclub chain and is part owner of the New Jersey Nets franchise.  He is also serves as co-brand director for Budweiser Select and is one of the producers for the Tony award- winning Broadway musical Fela!

Rounding out the top five were Akon with $21 million, Lil Wayne with $20 million and Dr. Dre with $17 million.  Hip-hop beef maker 50 Cent also appeared on the list at number fourteen grossing $8 million. View the complete list at Forbes.com. 

 

Advertisements

Denim Deluxe

 

The name Domenico Vacca is synonymous with two things: luxury fashion and A-list clientele.  Costume designers love to style Hollywood stars in his clothes and Al Pacino, Ron Perelman, Diddy, 50 Cent, Lebron James, Usher and Scarlett Johansson are among the celebrities that are his loyal customers.

The designer known as the official clothier of the red carpet will be using his superior craftsmanship to create a line of high end denim.  The men’s collection launches fall 2010 and the women’s collection will follow in spring 2011. 

Last Friday male models from Models International helped to display the luxury jeans at a private party held at Domenico Vacca’s West Broadway location.  Guests sipped cocktails, ate Bellinis courtesy of Cipriani Downtown and received a 30% discount off select merchandise.

The jeans superbly exhibited by the models were the epitome of quality and style.  They are constructed with Italian Candiani selvedge denim and lined with the same fine fabrics used in Domenico Vacca’s dress shirts.   Domenico Vacca Denim also uses hand construction to create the wash and destruction of every pair of jeans.  A far cry from the work trousers created in 1873, a pair of jeans has become a must have item in every one’s wardrobe.  Domenico Vacca Denim is sure to raise the bar yet again.

 

Making A School

Recently I asked what realm Diddy will conquer next.  Apparently, the next stop on the Diddy expansion express is school, Sean “Diddy” Combs plans to open a school in the Big Apple to teach aspiring entrepreneurs the secrets behind his success.

The mogul told CNN, “I want to have an academy that’s known for building leaders. I feel that’s one of the things I can have an impact on.”

If anyone can teach people how to turn an endeavor into an empire, it is Diddy.  Besides being one of the most recognizable celebrities in the world, Diddy’s resume reads as the CEO of Bad Boy Records and Sean John Clothing, executive producer of MTV’s “Making The Band” and VH1’s “I Wanna Work For Diddy” and owner of Justin’s restaurant chain.  Along with these achievements and a development deal with Ciroc vodka, Diddy has kept a firm grasp on the corporate and entertainment worlds since the ‘90s all while doing so with impeccable style and panache. 

Nobody does it like Diddy; this new business school will no doubt reflect the “Diddy way” of doing things.  I’m sure that “No Bitchassness” will be written in the Diddy Business School code of conduct.  I also wonder about the selection process for applicants, if Diddy will teach any courses and if there will be campus housing, but I’m getting ahead of myself.  I do have one suggestion; turn it into a television series.  If “Making The Band” and “I Wanna Work For Diddy” has shown me anything, it is that the man knows how to make entertaining reality TV, I’m sure “Diddy U” will be no different.

Diddy Honored by BET

On Monday BET aired the third annual BET Honors, an award show taped on January 16 in Washington, D.C. recognizing individuals within the black community achieving excellence within their perspective fields as well as exemplifying the mantra “Giving back to give forward.”  Actress Gabrielle Union hosted the event for the second time.

Harlem native Sean “Diddy” Combs received the Entrepreneur Award; an accolade befitting him because more than anyone in the entertainment industry, Diddy is an entrepreneur.  Known for making a way out of no way, Diddy went from being a dancer to a mogul.  His accomplishments are shining examples that affirm if one has a dream and is willing to grind hard to achieve that dream; it will one day become a reality.  Bad Boy, Justin’s, Ciroc (yes the man has his own alcohol) and Sean John – from movies to music to the runway nothing is out of Diddy’s grasp.  He is the true personification of the phrase “Veni, vidi, vici.” What realm Diddy will conquer next, one only knows.  In his acceptance speech, Diddy got personal and thanked his mother Janice Combs.  He told a poignant story of  how she worked round the clock to provide for him and his sister after his father was murdered and mentioned that he wanted to make sure that she never had to work again.  Well, he has certainly managed to attain that task and more.  A famous quote of Diddy’s is “Sleep is forbidden,” this award shows that for him failure is also forbidden.  Former boss and mentor Andre Harrell and Mary J. Blige celebrated him in song.  Considering that Blige was discovered by Diddy and their work defined the genre of hip hop soul, it was a fitting tribute.

Two Jersey girls were also honored.  The original queen of hip hop, Queen Latifah, and the iconic Whitney Houston were also two of the award recipients.  Both hailing from East Orange, these living legends prove the New Jersey isn’t the “Garden State,” it is the Star State.  Taraji P. Henson presented Queen Latifah with the Media Award as Latifah has placed her mark on every facet of the industry and has the awards to prove it.  Another legend, Patti Labelle and future legend Jasmine Sullivan paid tribute to the Queen Latifah, who’s real name is Dana Owens, in song.  Gracious as always Latifah thanked her mother and father and called people to take action in the effort to bring relief to Haiti.  Pioneer, actress, singer, producer and author, Latifah has shown through tireless hard work why she was given the title of queen and on Friday she and Diddy along with Wyclef and other stars will participate in another telethon to help bring much needed aid to the survivors of the recent earthquake in Haiti. 

There are very few that have or will achieve the levels of success that Whitney Houston has, but there were some that had written this legendary vocalist off.  How sweet it is to prove haters wrong, and after being presented with the Entertainment Award by Neo, Whitney is glowing example of what a survivor really is.  In her recent comeback to the spotlight, Whitney has shown the world that her voice was not the only gift she was blessed with.  The other is a strength that I believe may have been unknown to her until it was truly tested.  Whitney says that she stays “prayed up,” and needs nothing more that her God and her child.  Thank God that we will have the pleasure to hear that wonderful voice for many years to come.  Vocal powerhouses Jennifer Hudson and Kim Burrell tore the walls of the Warner Theatere down with songs befitting a tribute to one the best voices in the entertainment industry. 

Other performers included the musical genius of Stevie Wonder, India Arie, Trey Songz, Maxwell and Take 6.  Neurosurgeon Keith Black received the Public Service Award and educator Ruth Simmons received the Education Award.