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Gay DJ wallops
hip-hop icon over "Diddy" name rights

Gay DJ wallops
hip-hop icon over "Diddy" name rights

London lawyers announced a settlement this week upholding the right of gay London-based DJ-producer Richard "Diddy" Dearlove to use the name "Diddy" within the United Kingdom. Under the terms of the order and a settlement agreement, hip-hop superstar Sean "P. Diddy" Combs has had to pay Diddy Dearlove "significant damages" and will no longer be able to trade in the U.K. as "Diddy." The order and the settlement vindicate Dearlove's decision to pursue Combs through the courts and ensure that he will once again enjoy exclusive U.K. rights to the name "Diddy." Dearlove rose to prominence in the music world via his legendary dance hit "Give Me Love." The track emerged from the gay NRG scene of the early '90s, where the track became an anthem at the likes of Trade, FF, and Love Muscle. Remixed by the late great Tony De Vit, it remains a dance-floor perennial Following this success, Diddy remixed Blondie's "Atomic," hitting number 1 on the U.S. Billboard dance chart. In August last year, Combs, who used to call himself Puff Daddy and then restyled himself P.Diddy, decided that henceforth he too would be known professionally as "Diddy." had an exclusive chat with the winning Diddy and asked him how he felt on first learning of Puff's inexplicable name change. "I remember reading the BBC news page that morning, August last year, when he announced he was changing his name, and this pit appeared in my stomach. I felt sick, angry and depressed. "I didn't know what to do. All I knew was that I'd spent over 15 years having hits, releasing records and mixes under that name, and suddenly it felt like I didn't exist anymore. "It seemed like an impossible task to try and change it, but Diddy is my identity, I've been called that by everyone since I was a child and everything--my Web site, e-mails, persona, reputation, good and bad--are all wrapped up into it. I knew if I didn't try and stop this, I'd be bitter and angry at myself forever." Sean "P. Diddy" Combs is worth an estimated $600 million, and his growing empire shows no sign of waning anytime soon. Despite Combs's wealth, the original Diddy denies hearing the sound of "ker-ching" when he launched the action, which was set to go to London's high court next month. In fact, for much of the time, he questioned the sanity of his actions. "Even when the legal team was trying to encourage me, it just seemed ridiculous that I'd be in this situation. I mean, I've been pretty successful, but let's be realistic, this is one of the biggest names in the world." It's also one of the biggest bank accounts in the hip-hop world, but Diddy insists he wasn't lured by the plentiful bling that might be on the table. "All the way throughout the last year, this litigation has been about keeping my name. There came a point a few months back when we knew that following the evidence, and witnesses collected, I was in a very strong position. "Discussions about possible outcomes were floated around, and I had to consider what my response was if he wanted to buy the name from me. Wild figures floated around, but no matter how big I tried to think, I always ended up really unhappy with the idea of losing my name. "It was such a surreal place to be in, thinking, Would you take X million? How about if it was doubled? I still came away saying, 'I don't want the money. I want my name.' You'd get people who just didn't understand it when I explained how I felt." asked Diddy how he intended to celebrate, and he said, "We're just setting to celebrate now, but it still hasn't really hit me yet." Judging by the rasping croak that faltered down the telephone line, it seems the celebrations have already started. (Stewart Who?,

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