“This is what’s up. Love wins. This is so surreal, I appreciate you all coming and just even giving me my flowers and celebrating me,” Diddy, 53, said in his lengthy acceptance speech. “This is a dream come true for me. I grew up watching MTV like, ‘Man I wish one day I could be up there.’”
Diddy shared that music wasn’t always what he saw himself doing with his career. He entered the workforce at age 12 as a paperboy while dreaming of being a football player. However, after sustaining a leg injury, he began dancing and got noticed on the streets of New York City and was cast in music videos.
“That’s how I fell in love with the music industry,” he shared while also thanking industry executives, songwriters and the Bad Boy Records family.
Before accepting his award, Diddy performed a medley of his greatest hits alongside several of his children, including 25-year-old Christian (a.k.a King Combs). His eldest daughter Chance, 17, even joined Mary J Blige to give Diddy his golden moonperson Diddy’s 16-year-old twins, Jessie and D’Lila, also joined their dad on stage.
The Global Icon Award is given to an artist or band who has achieved a unique level of worldwide success in the music industry. The honor originated at the MTV Europe Music Awards and, since launching at the VMAs in 2021, has been bestowed upon the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Foo Fighters.
Diddy’s performance was the first time the rapper took the stage at the awards show for the first time since 2005, the same year he served as host. The rapper is set to release his first solo album since 2006, titled The Love Album: Off the Grid, on Friday, September 15. The project features collaborations with high-profile names such as Justin Bieber, The Weeknd and Mary J. Blige.
In addition to the Global Icon Award, Diddy is nominated for Best Collaboration and Best Hip-Hop Video for “Gotta Move On” with Bryson Tiller, Ashanti and Yung Miami as well as Best Collaboration and Best R&B Video for “Creepin’ (Remix)” with Metro Boomin, The Weeknd and 21 Savage.
Diddy announced his return to solo music in August via a trailer for his upcoming album. “Why am I doing this?” he asked. “You know what I’m saying? Especially with the success that I’ve had. Especially where my life is. How stressful and treacherous this music industry is, why would I just come back in here and have to do something that I don’t have to do?”
He continued: “We in the love era — that’s the frequency that I’m asking y’all to be a part of. I had to go off the grid in order to really lock in ‘cause I was so addicted to my phone, so addicted to the work, so addicted to the bulls—t.”
Diddy, who revealed in 2022 that he had legally changed his middle name to Love, shared his desire to make an impact with his new music. “I don’t make an algorithm; I make a feeling,” he said. “You wanna give ‘em something that they can sing. People say, ‘Do you want streams?’ I said, ‘I want souls.’”
Diddy concluded the video by declaring that he was “not leaving here until the world has changed.”
During his break from solo music, Diddy has established himself as a powerhouse businessman, helming Bad Boy Records — which he founded in 1993 — and expanding his empire to include a fashion line, a cable music network, a tequila brand, charter schools, a cannabis distribution company and more.