FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Sweatshops of Sean "P. Diddy" Combs

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:

Lee Ballinger, CounterPunch’s music columnist, is co-editor of Rock and Rap Confidential author of the forthcoming book Love and War: My First Thirty Years of Writing, interviewed Honkala for CounterPunch. RRRC is now available for free by emailing Ballinger at: rockrap@aol.com.

March 25, 2019
Jonathan Cook
Three Lessons for the Left from the Mueller Inquiry
Dave Lindorff
The TSA’s Role as Journalist Harasser and Media ‘Watchdog’
Tanya Golash-Boza – Michael Golash
Epifanio Camacho: a Militant Farmworker Brushed Out of History
Robert Fisk
Don’t Believe the Hype: Here’s Why ISIS Hasn’t Been Defeated
Jack Rasmus
The Capitulation of Jerome Powell and the Fed
Lawrence Davidson
Israel’s Moves to the Right
John Feffer
After Trump
James Ridgeway
Good Agent, Bad Agent: Robert Mueller and 9/11
Dean Baker
The Importance of Kicking Up: Changing Market Structures So the Rich Don’t Get All the Money
Lawrence Wittner
What Democratic Socialism Is and Is Not
Thomas Knapp
Suppressing Discussion Doesn’t Solve the Problem. It is the Problem.
Stephen Cooper
“I’m a Nine-Star General Now”: an Interview with Black Uhuru’s Duckie Simpson
Andrew Moss
Immigration and the Democratic Hopefuls
Weekend Edition
March 22, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
The Ghost of Fascism in the Post-Truth Era
Gabriel Rockhill
Spectacular Violence as a Weapon of War Against the Yellow Vests
H. Bruce Franklin
Trump vs. McCain: an American Horror Story
Paul Street
A Pox on the Houses of Trump and McCain, Huxleyan Media, and the Myth of “The Vietnam War”
Andrew Levine
Why Not Impeach?
Bruce E. Levine
Right-Wing Psychiatry, Love-Me Liberals and the Anti-Authoritarian Left
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Darn That (American) Dream
Charles Pierson
Rick Perry, the Saudis and a Dangerous Nuclear Deal
Moshe Adler
American Workers Should Want to Transfer Technology to China
David Rosen
Trafficking or Commercial Sex? What Recent Exposés Reveal
Nick Pemberton
The Real Parallels Between Donald Trump and George Orwell
Binoy Kampmark
Reading Manifestos: Restricting Brenton Tarrant’s The Great Replacement
Brian Cloughley
NATO’s Expensive Anniversaries
Ron Jacobs
Donald Cox: Tale of a Panther
Joseph Grosso
New York’s Hudson Yards: The Revanchist City Lives On
REZA FIYOUZAT
Is It Really So Shocking?
Bob Lord
There’s Plenty of Wealth to Go Around, But It Doesn’t
John W. Whitehead
The Growing Epidemic of Cops Shooting Family Dogs
Jeff Cohen
Let’s Not Restore or Mythologize Obama 
Christy Rodgers
Achieving Escape Velocity
Monika Zgustova
The Masculinity of the Future
Jessicah Pierre
The Real College Admissions Scandal
Peter Mayo
US Higher Education Influence Takes a Different Turn
Martha Rosenberg
New Study Confirms That Eggs are a Stroke in a Shell
Ted Rall
The Greatest Projects I Never Mad
George Wuerthner
Saving the Big Wild: Why Aren’t More Conservationists Supporting NREPA?
Norman Solomon
Reinventing Beto: How a GOP Accessory Became a Top Democratic Contender for President
Ralph Nader
Greedy Boeing’s Avoidable Design and Software Time Bombs
Tracey L. Rogers
White Supremacy is a Global Threat
Nyla Ali Khan
Intersectionalities of Gender and Politics in Indian-Administered Kashmir
Karen J. Greenberg
Citizenship in the Age of Trump: Death by a Thousand Cuts
Jill Richardson
Getting It Right on What Stuff Costs
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail