FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Sweatshops of Sean "P. Diddy" Combs

by LEE BALLINGER

Rap mogul Sean “P. Diddy” Combs claims he gave up sex to train for the November 2 New York City Marathon, which he entered “for the kids.” The workers at the sweatshop in Choloma, Honduras who make Combs’s Sean Jean clothing line give up a lot more than that.

They make 24 cents per $50 Sean Jean sweatshirt, are forced to work unpaid overtime under armed guard, are fired for being pregnant (“for the kids,” right P. Diddy?), and are harassed for trying to use the bathroom or get a drink of water, according to a report released by the National Labor Committee. Eighty per cent of this Southeast Textiles factory in Choloma is used to make Sean Jean wear, the other twenty per cent is used for Rocawear, a line co-founded by Jay-Z and Damon Dash.

This scandal raises the question of what influence music industry figures who get clothing made in sweatshops have upon the Democratic Party, a political institution that works overtime to foster the development of a global sweatshop economy. Jay-Z, along with Phat Farm owner Russell Simmons, recently hosted a fundraiser for Democratic Presidential candidate Al Sharpton at 40/40, Jay-Z’s New York nightclub. P. Diddy backed Democrat Carl McCall for governor of New York last year. According to Electronic Urban Report, Presidential hopefuls Howard Dean, Richard Gephardt, and John Kerry have flown to New York to “curry favor with Russell Simmons.”

We asked the Garment Workers Center in Los Angeles about Simmons’s Phat Farm and they gave a sigh of frustration and explained that, like many clothing companies, Phat Farm gets its work done through a bewildering maze of sub-contractors. GWC did provide RRC with a report in which one of Phat Farm’s contractors admitted it was responsible for embroidering Phat Farm clothes and paid a settlement for unpaid overtime to several workers.

Given the uproar over P. Diddy and sweatshops, shouldn’t Russell Simmons come forward to reveal where and under what conditions Phat Farm clothing is made? The Democratic candidates sucking up to Simmons don’t care-the Democratic party showed its hostility to workers at home and abroad by passing NAFTA and by changing labor law to make it virtually impossible for unions to organize. We do know for sure that neither Phat Farm, Sean Jean, nor Rocawear are made at SweatX (sweatx.net), the unionized Los Angeles clothing company funded by Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s, which union vice-president Noel Beasley told RRC has “a UNITE union contract, decent wages and working conditions.” Jackson Browne, Foo Fighters, and the Indigo Girls have used SweatX and Santana is about to follow suit.

In other words, there is a choice. Why are so many entrepreneurs in the music industry making the wrong one?

LEE BALLINGER is coeditor of our favorite newsletter on music and politics, Rock and Rap Confidential. For a sample issue contact Lee at: Rockrap@aol.com

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

April 26, 2017
Richard Moser
Empire Abroad, Empire At Home
Stan Cox
For Climate Justice, It’s the 33 Percent Who’ll Have to Pick Up the Tab
Paul Craig Roberts
The Looting Machine Called Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
The Dilemma for Intelligence Agencies
Christy Rodgers
Remaining Animal
Joseph Natoli
Facts, Opinions, Tweets, Words
Mel Gurtov
No Exit? The NY Times and North Korea
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Women on the Move: Can Three Women and a Truck Quell the Tide of Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse?
Michael J. Sainato
Trump’s Wikileaks Flip-Flop
Manuel E. Yepe
North Korea’s Antidote to the US
Kim C. Domenico
‘Courting Failure:’ the Key to Resistance is Ending Animacide
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Legacy of Lynne Stewart, the People’s Lawyer
Andrew Stewart
The People vs. Bernie Sanders
Daniel Warner
“Vive La France, Vive La République” vs. “God Bless America”
April 25, 2017
Russell Mokhiber
It’s Impossible to Support Single-Payer and Defend Obamacare
Nozomi Hayase
Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech
Robert Fisk
The Madder Trump Gets, the More Seriously the World Takes Him
Giles Longley-Cook
Trump the Gardener
Bill Quigley
Major Challenges of New Orleans Charter Schools Exposed at NAACP Hearing
Jack Random
Little Fingers and Big Egos
Stanley L. Cohen
Dissent on the Lower East Side: the Post-Political Condition
Stephen Cooper
Conscientious Justice-Loving Alabamians, Speak Up!
Michael J. Sainato
Did the NRA Play a Role in the Forcing the Resignation of Surgeon General?
David Swanson
The F-35 and the Incinerating Ski Slope
Binoy Kampmark
Mike Pence in Oz
Peter Paul Catterall
Green Nationalism? How the Far Right Could Learn to Love the Environment
George Wuerthner
Range Riders: Making Tom Sawyer Proud
Clancy Sigal
It’s the Pits: the Miner’s Blues
Robert K. Tan
Abe is Taking Japan Back to the Bad Old Fascism
April 24, 2017
Mike Whitney
Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?    
John Steppling
Puritan Jackals
Robert Hunziker
America’s Tale of Two Cities, Redux
David Jaffe
The Republican Party and the ‘Lunatic Right’
John Davis
No Tomorrow or Fashion-Forward
Patrick Cockburn
Treating Mental Health Patients as Criminals
Jack Dresser
An Accelerating Palestine Rights Movement Faces Uncertain Direction
George Wuerthner
Diet for a Warming Planet
Lawrence Wittner
Why Is There So Little Popular Protest Against Today’s Threats of Nuclear War?
Colin Todhunter
From Earth Day to the Monsanto Tribunal, Capitalism on Trial
Paul Bentley
Teacher’s Out in Front
Franklin Lamb
A Post-Christian Middle East With or Without ISIS?
Kevin Martin
We Just Paid our Taxes — are They Making the U.S. and the World Safer?
Erik Mears
Education Reformers Lowered Teachers’ Salaries, While Promising to Raise Them
Binoy Kampmark
Fleeing the Ratpac: James Packer, Gambling and Hollywood
Weekend Edition
April 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Diana Johnstone
The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail