Record executive, producer, rapper, dancer, fashion mogul,philanthropist, marathoner and former boyfriend of Jennifer Lopez,has signed on to star alongside Sanna Lathan and PhyliciaRashad inBroadway’s rebirth of Hansberry’s “A Raisin inthe Sun.”
Assuming the role of Walter Lee in theproduction, a character described in Hansberry’s text as a”lean, intense man, in his middle 30’s, inclined toquick nervous movements and erratic speech habits,” Puffy hasa heavy load ahead of him. If Diddy even wants to come close to theperformance of African American icon, Sydney Poitier in theproduction, both on stage and in film, it might be helpful for himto put down the Cristal and pay a visit to Howard University toenroll in acting 101.
Some fans may be wondering when Puffy made thetransition from pop icon to Broadway star. However, we must notforget that Mr. Diddy is indeed an actor.
Having small roles in “Made,” a2001 Jon Favreau project and most recently playing HalleBerry’s husband in “Monster’s Ball,” do wethink Puffy is really ready for Broadway?
The play opens April 26th at theRoyale Theatre in New York and is anticipated to run well overthree hours. Now Diddy literally “ran the city” in afour hour marathon back in November and raised over two milliondollars for New York City schoolchildren. So will this Hip-Hopcapitalist, who’s always working towards attaining more,building a bigger empire and hustling around this competitiveindustry, come correct in this phenomenal African Americanproduction?
Unlike rapper/actor Mos Def, who receivedgreat reviews for his roles in movies prior to assuming a part in”Top Dog/ Underdog,” Diddy will have to learn the job.His responsibility does not solely lie in memorizing lines andemulating the character of Walter Lee, but trying to persuade theaudience to forget about his public image.
But it may be helpful to look not only at whatDiddy will bring to the play but also what “A Raisin in theSun” will bring to him.
Puffy was introduced to super stardom in 1997,under the alias of “Puff Daddy.” It was anticipatedthat his run to the top would be brilliant but short-lived however,Diddy managed to become one of the millennium’s mostadmirable and polished celebrities. He helped steer the careers ofMary J. Blige, 1990’s queen of R&B and the NotoriousB.I.G., who was murdered in 1997.
While some may feel Diddy is all aboutHollywood, publicity, capitalism and the limelight, others thinkthis Mount Vernon, New York, native is actually one of the hardestworking men in Hip Hop.
He recently coached a celebrity basketballteam, as part of All Star weekend. His record company, Bad Boy, iscelebrating their 10th anniversary next month with therelease of a greatest hits CD and the third season of making of theband begins on March 3rd. Furthermore, this spring,Puffy will open his Sean John Flagship boutique on Fifth Avenue.
It’s hard for us to honestly concludehow “A Raisin in the Sun” will play out when rehearsalshaven’t even begun yet.
With P. Diddy’s track record, the ballcan roll either way. His failures have proven to be just importantto his character as his success. However, in a period with a lot ofrappers chasing acting and pop stars chasing Broadway, it is fairto say that Diddy has chased everything!