LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: P. Diddy Exemplifies Hard Work, Perseverance

5/7/2014, 3 p.m.
I think that choosing Sean Combs brings that "umph!" to a commencement where the speech might otherwise have been delivered ...
Sean "Diddy" Combs

The controversy surrounding Sean Combs, aka “P. Diddy,” as speaker for Howard University’s 146th commencement [“Sean Combs Controversy Lingers at Howard,” April 24-30 edition] is one of those gray areas where I’ve come across as many nods in his support as blatant “No’s.”

Mr. Combs dropped out of Howard after attending for two years in the late ’80s, but through determination and perseverance became a big achiever. He went from a hip hop artist who helped change the course of R&B music, to record company executive, actor and philanthropist. That means he apparently believed in himself and his dreams – which undoubtedly will be the message he conveys on Saturday, May 10.

However, those opposed to the entertainer and entrepreneur serving as Howard’s commencement speaker and being awarded an honorary degree, argue that his dropping out of school sends the wrong message to students who steadied the course to earn their degrees.

Well, Mr. Combs worked hard too – and really, other than his lack of a bachelor’s degree, the only thing that sets him apart from the students he’ll address, is the pot load of money he’s already made. Certainly, many of them will be aspiring for that as well.

I also think that choosing Mr. Combs brings that “umph!” to a commencement where the speech might otherwise have been delivered by yet another boring academic.

Go for it Mr. Combs. I can’t wait until they start calling you “Dr. P. Diddy!”

Chelsea Jones

Washington, D.C.

Young People Must Join Race Discussion

In regard to the article, “Jamal-Harrison Bryant to Speak at Race Division Discussion,” published in the April 24-30 edition, I find it almost surreal that in 2014, we continue to talk about race relations.

Yet race division remains a center-stage topic, given the ongoing disproportionate rate of unemployment among blacks and the flip-flop state of the economy, which not only drives up the jobless numbers, but puts black families already struggling to live paycheck to paycheck, at risk of becoming homeless.

As Hazel Trice Edney, president of the Capital Press Club, so adeptly stated, racial atrocities that include overwhelming percentages of black incarceration and lack of quality education, “have set off a level of urgency that cannot be ignored.”

I can only hope that the panel discussion, which will be led by the esteemed Baltimore clergyman, provides real solutions and opportunities to help eradicate these lingering social ills.

In doing so, I sincerely hope that the young people ages 21 to 35 who attend, walk away with an eye-opening understanding that if there’s work to be done, they, as our future movers and shakers, will have to get down in the trenches as well.

Donald Carter

Washington, D.C.