This week’s Side B award goes to iconic hip hop artist Sean (P. Diddy) Combs who earlier this week spoke at the kick off of the first day of classes at a new charter school he co-founded in his old Harlem neighborhood. Known as the Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School, Combs told students and staffers that their school can make a positive change.

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P. Diddy amongst students
P. Diddy amongst students

Editor’s Note: Combs, 46, was born in a public housing project in Harlem and he was raised in Mount Vernon which borders the Bronx.

Combs had this to say:

“Great schools and great education make a big difference,. Unfortunately, too many people don’t get the opportunity to succeed, no matter how hard they try. This is leveling the playing field here at Capital Prep. I want Harlem to have the best schools. The best of everything.”

P. Diddy later added: “Instead of me complaining about education. I want to do something about it. So that’s why I’m starting this school.” "Killing Them Softly" Premiere - 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival

Combs founded the school in partnership with Connecticut educator Dr. Steve Perry, who previously created a successful charter school in Hartford, Connecticut. Capital Prep Harlem admitted 176 students in sixth and seventh grades for its first year of classes and these students were chosen from a random lottery of roughly 1,000 applicants. The charter will expand to enroll about 700 students in grades 6-12 by the year 2021.


P. Diddy’s contribution is refreshing and noteworthy and regardless of your political views on charter schools or their effectiveness, we applaud Mr. Combs for his efforts. There is no debating the value of education and anyone or any effort that brings learning and betterment to our nation’s children is important and worthy of recognition.

Editor’s Note: One of the criticisms of charter schools, for example, is that they do not utilize unionized teachers. One can imagine the political implications of that issue however, we don’t want to detract from Combs’ efforts over such points.

We loved P. Diddy as an artist and now we love him as educator.  Nice work Mr. Combs.

Ken “K Bo” Biedzynski, Editor