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."
Gay.com 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
"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
"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."
Gay.com 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?, Gay.com/U.K.)