Backstage Stories: P. Diddy

Backstage Stories:  P. Diddy

For those of you who don’t know, P. Diddy designs a men’s clothing brand called, Sean John.  Sean John is sold primarily at Macy’s and had been featured in their fashion show an AIDS fundraiser for several years, “Macy’s and American Express Presents Passport.”  The day finally came when Sean himself (P. Diddy) would grace our stage!

I was assigned to help him through rehearsals and the show itself, I give him his choreography and cues.  The segment was a James Bond theme with a real Ring Of Fire that P. Diddy had to walk through in his snazzy Sean John suit.  Well, P. Diddy was NOT having it, not even for Macy’s.  I had my director shouting into my earpiece, “P. Diddy Go! Go! Go!  Where is he???  Go!” and Diddy in my other ear, “Is it safe? I’m not doing that!  Where is the fire coming from? Are you sure it’s safe?  Can I talk to someone?”  In his defense we could feel the intense heat backstage.  Since this was the LA show we had already done weeks of rehearsals and shows in San Francisco with a model filling in for P. Diddy’s part.  I assured him everything was safe, but it took some more convincing from our executives.

I suppose my naïveté didn’t understand the complexity of safety for a celebrity especially a rapper during those times.  Several famous rappers had been shot dead like Tupac and The Notorious BIG and the East Coast/West Coast rivalry was still very formidable.  Later that evening our show started over an hour late because both P. Diddy and Los Angeles Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, sat in their limos refusing to get out.  Because one was an East Coast rapper and the other, the mayor of a major West Coast city, the word on headset was, they were afraid of being photographed together on the red carpet.  Eventually, they both walked the red carpet at different times, of course.  P. Diddy walked the runway and even made his smoldering entrance through The Ring Of Fire.  No one was injured and lots of money was raised for the Fight Against HIV/Aids.  P. Diddy was a good sport and even came back to our stage a few years later.  



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