Sean Combs racks up names and business ventures in comparable measure. Since the '90s, he's bounced between Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Puffy and Diddy, and dipped into music labels, clothing lines, tequila, hangover cures, restaurants and TV networks. This week, the very well-established entrepreneur confirmed his latest project towards the ultimate goal of Having Tried Everything At Least Once—a charter school, scheduled to open for sixth and seventh graders in his hometown Harlem this fall (technically, since Diddy was born in Harlem but grew up in Mount Vernon).
The school was approved by the Board of Regents in 2014, according to the NY Times, and will be the second outpost of a charter school in Hartford Connecticut called Capital Preparatory Magnet. Capital Prep founder Steve Perry told the paper that it was "unclear" what kind of jurisdiction Diddy will have over the new school, Capital Preparatory Harlem, but stressed that Diddy was responsible for convincing the school to expand to NYC in the first place. Perry recalled the germination moment to the Hartford Courant this week:
Perry said he met Combs at an engagement party several years ago. As Perry was leaving, he recalled, Combs and his enormous body guard approached him. Combs modestly introduced himself and told Perry that he wanted to start a school.
"OK, that's really cool. Good luck with that," Perry remembers responding.
"No, I think we could start a school together," Combs responded. Perry gave Combs his phone number.
Diddy was apparently involved in the early planning process for the new charter school, covering the cost of the staff and office space.
The Courant reports that Perry left Capital Prep in 2014, after the Hartford school board refused to let him manage a nearby elementary school—some families apparently protested the move, calling it a corporate takeover. When it comes to NYC, Perry says he's much more confident. "New York is very different from Connecticut," he told the outlet. "Charter schools are welcomed. The lies that are told about charter schools have already been debunked."
Capital Preparatory Harlem will be located at 1 East 104th Street on Central Park, according to its website, and says it will cater to special needs and ESL students. After an initial class of sixth and seventh graders, the school plans to expand one grade per year, maxing out at 700 students in grades six through 12.
Diddy's latest venture will also be decked out with an indoor swimming pool, theater, and dance studio, and will hopefully will be designed in the mode of Diddy's Upper East Side penthouse as featured prominently in Making the Band.