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SEAN COMBS The Branding of a Superstar by Kaya Morgan

One of the hottest entertainers in popular music, Sean "Diddy" Combs, has made Fortune magazine's, "America's 40 Richest Under 40" list more than just once. Dominating the music industry, garnering dozens of awards, tailoring artists into platinum acts and traveling in the upper echelons of the entertainment industry, Combs has built a colossal empire around his most tangible asset — himself. With his penchant for furs, jewels and Cristal Champagne, this slender, soft-spoken and unfailingly polite entertainment mogul has successfully used his fame as a springboard to a rising business empire coupled with vast personal wealth. Combs estimated net worth is close to $550 million, while Time and CNN have declared him to be "One of the Most Influential Businessmen in the World."

Born in Harlem, Combs might have grown up as an inner city kid with a questionable future. However, when he was just two years old, the tragic murder of his father forced his mother, a model, to move Sean and his sister to a safer environment in Mount Vernon, New York. Mother, Janice, worked three jobs to provide the best opportunities possible for the education of her children. "She was constantly pushing me. I feel like I was nurtured into wanting to be somebody special," recalls Combs. He felt fortunate to attend Mount Vernon Montessori School and Mount St. Michael Academy, a Catholic, boys' high school which helped give him a strong character base.

While working toward his major in business administration at Howard University in Washington, D.C., he produced weekly dance parties, and ran an airport shuttle service while attending classes. Shuttling back and forth between New York City and Washington, D.C. was a challenge until at age 19, he became one of the youngest directors of A&R records, marking the beginning of one of the most successful and rapid ascents in the history of the entertainment industry.

Life turned another corner when Combs was offered an internship at Uptown Records where he met industry leader, Andre Harrell. Combs became the sculptor of many well known artists. With a natural knack for marketing, and his brilliant combination of producer and remix whiz, he helped catapult the hip-hop style of African-American music into the American mainstream.

The time was ripe in 1993 when he created a groundbreaking new company of his own, Bad Boy Entertainment. The company had unprecedented success with such hip-hop and R&B recording artists as Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Sting, Mary J. Blige, LLCool J, New Edition, Lil' Kim, Method Man, Babyface, TLC, Boyz II Men, and Aretha Franklin, bringing Combs recognition as a power producer, arranger and CEO with a natural ability for finding great talent as well as developing some of the biggest, chart-dominating hits in the music industry.

In 1996, Combs was named ASCAP's "Songwriter of the Year," and by 1997, Bad Boy Entertainment had sold nearly $100 million in recordings, and made a multimillion dollar deal with Arista records for the management of the label. Finally, in 1997, Combs launched his own album, No Way Out, which became the third best-selling LP of 1997 with more than 3.4 million copies sold.

Without question, Combs talents extend way beyond just the music industry. What started out as a venture run out of his own home has expanded not only into a multifaceted company, but also a multimillion dollar business. When discussing his many ventures, Combs clearly makes the point, "I am a very focused person." His Bad Boy ventures now include — Ciroc Vodka, Notorious magazine; Justin Combs Music Publishing, Blue Flame Marketing & Advertising, Bad Boy Productions, Janice Combs Management, Bad Boy Technologies, Bad Boy Films, Bad Boy Books, Daddy's House Studios, and Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group. Warner Music is said to have purchased 50% of Bad Boy Records (sales of $100 million) for a reported cool $30 million. His company, collectively, has annual sales of around $400 million with an employee base of over 600.

His Sean John line of men's fragrance, eyewear, and the clothing lines consisting of designer jeans and sportswear, menswear, womenswear, loungewear, underwear and boys, are all inspired by Combs diverse personal style. Nominated by the Council of Fashion Designers of America for the prestigious Perry Ellis Menswear Award numerous times, Combs admits, "I always had the idea that I would start my own apparel line, but I wanted to make sure that I had the time to devote to it."

In 2001, Combs added the film and television industry to his repertoire, making his acting debut in the Artisan comedy, Made, as well as giving a sizzling performance in the Lion's Gate feature, Monster's Ball. No surpise, his MTV reality television show, Making The Band, was another huge success for the music mogul. "This made other reality shows look like a pajama party at a monastery," said Combs.

A joint venture, partnering with Lincoln, resulted in a Limited Edition (only 100), custom SUVs — the Sean John Navigator. Priced at $85,000, they were outfitted with a Pioneer Premier Audio system with satellite radio, three DVD players, six TV monitors, Playstation 2, logo-embossed, heated/vibrating leather seats, black wood interior, tinted windows, all while displaying the Sean John logo in place of the usual Lincoln emblem. Is there anything this man hasn't thought of?

UIn 2013, his venture, REVOLT TV, has set the music industsry on it's head as the first real-time, socially connected music television network to be broadly distributed on Comcast Cable systems that will directly leverage the social media outlets to influence music culture and content for the video-centric generation. "I'm thrilled to be at the helm to usher in a completely new model of television that brings together the artist community, social media, and cutting edge technology," said Combs. Then by 2014, he added FUSE Cable TV to his expanding media network.

Far exceeding a charitable gesture, Combs has helped to create and fund innovative youth programs through his Daddy's House Social Programs that include Wall Street training teams, college visit tours for high school seniors, international travel groups, summer camp programs and internships at Bad Boy which Combs himself instructs. He has donated well over $1 million dollars to his former alma mater, Howard University, for African-American youth studies, donated more than 100 computers to 500 New York City public schools, and his Daddy's House charity sponsors a "Hungry and Homeless" Thanksgiving Day dinner for more than 30,000 people in Atlanta, Georgia.

When musing on his life thus far, he says, "What I'm most concerned about is finding inner peace and happiness. All that glitters isn't gold. And, there are things better than gold — like having a meaningful conversation, seeing your kids healthy and smiling, and getting along with your mother." Combs has a lot of things going for him: an iconic status, a heroic stance and a massive following where celebrity counts. Is it any wonder, with such innate talent, that everything this man touches does turn to gold.

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More stories by journalist, Kaya Morgan, can be found by clicking the link. Contact us for reprint or Internet use as most articles are available.

Previously published interviews and article links soon to be available on this page include Angelina Jolie, Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Harry Connick, Jr., Nicole Kidman, Celine Dion, Sylvestor Stallone, Laila Ali, Martha Stewart, The Wrigley's, Google's Larry Page & Sergey Brin, George Lucas, Maloof Family, Casino Mogul - Steve Wynn, Wolfgang Puck, World Champion auto racer - Michael Schumacher, Top Biotech Executive - Tina Nova, International Hair Products Mogul - John Paul DeJoria, Wynn Resort, Amangani - Jackson Hole, Trinity Yachts with many more scheduled for publication.

The Rich & Famous Celebrities, Athletes & Entrepreneurs:
Donald Trump - Playing the Trump Card (Cover Story)
Beyonce - Renaissance Woman & Certified Superstar (Cover Story)
Angelina Jolie - On Movies & Motherhood (Cover Story)
The Eagles - Life Beyond the Fast Lane(Cover Story)
Sean Combs - Branding of a Superstar
Johnny Depp - Smokin' Hot

Cher - The World of a Legend

Sting - Still at the Top of His Career

Jeff Bezos - King of Cybercommerce
Scott Blum - One of the World's Greatest Internet Retailers
Richard Branson - His Unique Competitive Edge
Fred Smith - Federal Express Renegade
Guy Laliberte - Billionaire Circus Impresario
Jeff Zucker - NBC's Superstar Entertainment Chief
Catherine Zeta-Jones - Hollywood's Perfect Leading Lady
Dwayne Johnson - Transforming the Rock
Demi Moore - Back on Top of Hollywood's A-List
Arnold Schwarzenegger - Real Life Action Hero
Lisa Marie Presley - An Original American Princess
Faith Hill - Country Music's Top Female Performer
Leonardo DiCaprio - One of Hollywood's Hottest Stars
Tom Cruise, Jim Carrey & Celine Dion - Highest Paid Entertainers
Anna Kournikova - Russian Tennis Diva
Michael Andretti - Racing's Top Driver & Successful Entrepreneur
Oscar De La Hoya - Boxing's Multitalented Golden Boy
Derek Jeter - The Yankee's Most Valuable Player
Alex Rodriguez, Tiger Woods & Andre Agassi - Top Athletes
Wayne Gretzky - Hockey's Greatest Player
John Paul DeJoria - A True Global Citizen
John Paul DeJoria - Head of the World's Fastest Growing Hair Products
Benny Shabtai - Raymond Weil's Magical King
Ron Rice - Hawaiian Tropic's Suntan King
Ralph Lauren, Michael Dell & Kirk Kerkorian - Billionaires
Hearst, Getty & Rockefeller - Family Fortunes
The Morgans - An American Family of Financiers
The Vanderbilt Legacy
Glenn Myles - Wall Street Tycoon
David Clapper - Success Runs Deep
Michael Eckerman - Wealth Recovery Specialist
Angus Mitchell - First Family of Hair
Erica Shaffer - One of the Most Recognized Faces on TV Today
Michele Rogers Berk - Hollywood Producer With A Twist
Steven Cheroske - Designer Extraordinaire
Richard Lukaj - Wizard of Wall Street
William Clark - Scottsdale's Polo Afficionado
360 Degrees - Aviation Story of the Decade

Travel Destinations:
Richard Branson's Private Retreat - Necker Island
Dallas' Adolphus Hotel & The French Room
Amangani - Majestic Jackson Hole
Turtle Island - Romantic Ecotourism Hot Spot of the South Pacific
Ulusaba - South Africa's Ultimate Luxury Safari
Fiji - Barefoot Elegance In Vatulele
Musha Cay - Luxury Bahamian Island Retreat
Lowes Ventana Canyon Resort - Tuscon's Architectural Masterpiece
Four Seasons Resort - The Brightest Star on Palm Beach
Inn At Little Washington - A National Treasure
Bel-Air's Historic Hotel & Restaurant
The Fairmont Scottsdale - A True "Princess"

Private Villas & Luxury Estates:
Frank Sinatra - Beverly Hills Legendary Hideaway (Cover Story)
Peter Guber's Aspen Mountain Estate (Cover Story)
Harry Winston - Famed Jeweler's Scarsdale Estate (Cover Story)
Robin Leach Realizes A Dream - Luxury Antigua Estate (Cover Story)
Paul Hogan - Crocodile Dundee's Down Under Plantation (Cover Story)
William Holden's Santa Monica Penthouse

Caribbean Treasure - Cayman Islands' Great House
Hollywood Producer's Palatial Hawaiian Estate - Hi'ilani
Oscar Hammerstein Estate - Montego Bay
Paradise Point - Oceanside Villa In St. Croix
Bluefields Bay - Jamaican Old World Ambiance

Artist Profiles:
Anthony Quinn - Tribute to A Master
Tony Curtis - Legendary Actors Impressions on Canvas
Madalina Nicola - Hot New Contemporary Artist
George Sumner - Environmental Impressionist
Alfred Rogoway - Celebration of An American Artist

Great Chefs & Top Restaurants:
Alain Ducasse - World Renowned Atelier of Gastronomy (Cover Story)
Charlie Palmer - The "Godfather" of Restauranteurs (Cover Story)
21 Club - Manhattan's Prestigious Landmark (Cover Story)
Fleur De Lys - San Francisco's French Haute Cuisine
The French Room - Dallas' Adolphus Hotel
Thomas Henkelmann - Greenwich's Best Kept Secret
The Ventana Room - Tuscon's Ventana Canyon Resort
Bel-Air's Historic Hotel & Restaurant
Muriel's - Palm Springs Hot Spot
Tru - The Windy City's Top Pick
Marquesa - Arizona's Highest Rated Restaurant

Festive Holiday Table Settings - Designs For Home Entertainment (Cover Story)
Exquisite Silver - Precious Handcrafted Sterling
The Wine Connoisseur - A Primer For Non-Afficionados

New Technologies/Methods:
Grow Yours - Natural Breast Enhancement

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