Diddy promotes new album at D.C. public school

Hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs promoted his new album “Press Play” Wednesday in a Northwest D.C. public school.

Combs, formerly known as “Puff Daddy,” “Puffy” and “P. Diddy,” spoke to students at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Combs, who referred to the school as “Diddy High,” offered advice to the students about continuing education.

Duke Ellington, the only public school in D.C. to offer professional arts training and college preparation, admits students after an audition that gauges their artistic ability. Diddy praised the students for their dedication to the arts.

“It is important to me to stop at schools because it is you who have supported me through the years,” Combs said. “I wouldn’t be Diddy without you.”

During his hour at the school, Combs empathized with the children on the difficulties of coming from humble beginnings. He said he had to work harder than most coming from Harlem, N.Y., to graduate from college. Combs graduated from Howard University in Washington.

“Society has a different plan for you guys . which means that you’re going to have to work three to four times harder to be successful,” Combs said.

“School comes first, not jewelry or cars,” he said after displaying his flashy jewelry. “I got all this because I went to school.”

Combs’ visit was notrevealed to the students until they walked into the large auditorium covered with promotional posters for “Press Play,” which is set to come out Oct. 17.

“We wanted to surprise them,” said John Payne, Duke Ellington’s dean of students.

Combs asked 16-year-old student Demitrus Carter to come on stage and talk about his career goals during the assembly. Carter said he wanted to become a gospel singer, and he sang for the audience at Combs’ request.

After the event, Carter thanked one of his teachers for the experience with Combs and said he was more inspired to continue his education in college.

“It felt so great and was really special,” Carter said.

Duke Ellington School librarian Patricia Bonds said Combs’ life had parallels with her students and their lifestyles.

“He was wonderful,” Bonds said. “He kept it real and spoke about how he was one of them but was able to rise above it and become who he is today.”

Tony Gittens, executive director of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Science, announced during the event that D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams declared Sept. 20 “Diddy Day” in honor of Combs’ visit.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.