Should Justin Combs Really Come Up Off That Scholarship?

61 Comments
June 1, 2012 ‐ By

Source: Extratv.com

Diddy’s son Justin is feeling a lot of pressure these days and dealing with backlash that’s totally wrapped up in his race and his wealth, i.e., rich black people problems.

Everyone has an opinion on what the 18-year-old should do with the four-year, $54,000 merit-based (keyword) scholarship he accepted to attend UCLA which has people asking, should he have accepted it in the first place? Should he give it up? Should he donate it? Not to mention, who’s paying for it? But at the end of the day it comes down to one simple fact. Justin Combs, him, himself, and he, earned it all by hard work.

I admit, I was in the donation camp when I first heard the news about his scholarship. I’m pretty sure the ghost of Sallie Mae was haunting my thoughts and all I could think was that he doesn’t really need that money and how cool would it be for another student who will likely have to take out outrageous loans to pay for an education to now have a chance to go to school. Thankfully, looking at comments on the subject from a number of different sites opened my eyes enormously and now I can see I was full-blown trippin.’

The piece I totally missed in this entire discussion and celebration of this young man’s achievement, which has been overshadowed by this scholarship foolishness, is the awesome example Justin is setting for black males, rich and poor alike. If Diddy was our daddy how many of us would be thinking about college? Let along how many of us would have been focused enough to earn a 3.75 GPA while being a star on the football team? That’s not a common story that’s told, especially about black men and no one should try to take away his shine by making him appear to be at fault for working toward academic and athletic excellence and being rewarded for it accordingly. Sure Justin would have likely gone to school for free anyway on his father’s dime, but Diddy didn’t get Justin into school, Justin got himself into school—for free—and I think he’s an amazing example of self-determination and a young man who, as his mother said, “is his own man,” and who will “earn his way through life.” How many rich kids out there can say the same? Certainly not the ones we always talk about in media headlines.

Perhaps it’s the fact that the university had used more than $2 million from student fees to cover an athletic department funding gap the year before that has everyone in a tizzy, but what does that have to do with Justin? Why is this boy in some ways being punished for excelling simply because of who his father is? As many people have pointed out, is this type of fuss ever made over the children of white CEOs and businessmen who could easily afford to pay for their kid’s education but don’t because their children excelled in the classroom and earned free rides. Why is Justin any different?

With the taxpayer nonsense killed thanks to a statement from UCLA that reinforced the fact that this scholarship is merit- and not needs-based, people really need to let this go. I feel like this discussion has grown to the level of Obama’s birther debate and people won’t be satisfied until they find some sort of way to take away from the success of a black man and it’s just not fair. Justin needs to be allowed to have his moment and to say when all was said and done that he put himself through college. If he wants to donate his scholarship to someone else, I think that’s amazing. And if he doesn’t that’s amazing as well. We should demand nothing more from him then we do other men from wealthy backgrounds who earn scholarships the same as he did. And when we see a man exceed expectations like this, we should celebrate it without reservation.

What do you think about the Justin Combs scholarship debate? Is there any merit to it?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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  • FancyAParis

    I’m sorry but wasn’t this the same kid that had a lavish sweet 16 on national television? Also if Diddy can afford to buy million dollar chain pieces i think he can afford to give away the same amount to a scholarship fund. What about United Negro College fund for starters? I commend Justin for his hard work and it should be applauded but this is where Diddy should step in and show him the right thing to do as the kid of a wealthy child. I rarely hear of Diddy doing anything charitable when it comes to scholarships. Here would be a good place to start.

  • Veratta Pegram-Floyd

    I am happy for Justin, I applaud his efforts and do not think that he should have to give that scholarship money back if he decides to attend UCLA. Where I do have an issue (again, not with Justin): “It comes at a time when student fees are rising and a year after the university had to use more than $2 million in student fees to cover an athletic department funding gap.” Student fees are charged to all students and since those fees are now being raised (with tuition in general), those extra fees and tuition have a disproportionate impact on all students, especially low-income students (who typically are students of color). My second issue (through discussion about this scholarship on my FB page): why is it that we are so proud of athletes that accomplish 3.7 GPAs or higher? What specifically makes those students (athletes) any different from other students who chose to be involved in a time intensive activity (or set of activities) on campus? I understand the statistics behind student athletes and their grades, however, there is an underlying issue and/or giving them passes because they provide revenue.

  • tracee

    He earned it, he should keep it.

  • Karla

    Black white or indifferent, rich, middle class or poor…this kid earned his scholarship. Has nothing to do with race or money. The child was brought up properly and taught how to work for what he wants and that he did!! Congrats Justin! Congrats to the Combs family for doing their jobs as parents!

  • Tagirl

    I hope Justin doesn’t cave into the pressure. This is a non-issue. He’s not the first rich kid to get a scholarship and he won’t be the last. Hopefully Puff reminds him that he worked hard for this and deserves it. An 18 year old kid shouldn’t have to go through this.

  • lola

    No, he earned it. If his father was not Sean Combs would he be asked to give it back?

  • Brian Phelps

    Honestly, he shouldn’t have applied for scholarships. There are millions of students who want to go to school, but simply can’t afford it. I could have a 4.0 GPA, and if my parents were worth millions of dollars I clearly wouldn’t be APPLYING for scholarships. Scholarships are supposed to be the great equalizer between poor and rich kids. I’m happy that he has a 3.75GPA, but that doesn’t need mean he NEEDS a scholarship. Scholarships are for people who NEED THEM. It has nothing to do with race. I’m bi-racial, and I think him applying for scholarships he CLEARLY does not need takes away from people who do need them.

    What was it Uncle Phil said on Fresh Prince to Will: “Having people open a door for you doesn’t make you any less of a man to go through it”.

    • Trisha_B

      He didn’t apply for the scholarship. You don’t apply for merit based scholarships. When you play a sport, by your junior year in high school colleges start scouting. They look at the star players of the team at the school & think about offering them a position at the school & will offer them a scholarship. You can’t apply for a athletic scholarship. Smh It’s clear a lot of people in here don’t know how Financial aid/scholarship/grants work

      • Mrsadkiah

        Lol I’ve pretty much said everything in your comment. These people don’t understand. Educate yourself a little bit more about a subject before you call yourself creating an opinion.

    • Tellyouright

      The funny thing with MERIT scholarships is that they are usually awarded to you whether you apply or not. I, myself was the recipient of a few of those while in college, although, I did not apply for them. He did not receive a NEEDS-BASED scholarship; the article clearly said it was merit-based which means, he EARNED the grades, he EARNED entry into the school, and he EARNED scholarship.

  • jk2001

    He deserves the scholarship and should take it, but his family is wealthy, and propriety dictates that wealthy families give large donations to the university. They’ll also name things after the family – and to do it right, that should be delayed until well after graduation.

    All that nice stuff on campus didn’t just appear, and while a big portion is publicly funded (UCLA is a public school), big donations built a lot of the facilities, and big scholarship funds help fill the seats in the classes.

    The scholarship is not only a reward and recognition, it’s also money that’s used to pay for professors and the facilities. People who can’t afford it get need based scholarships, and they also work as they attend school. People who can afford it, pay their way. People who are in the 0.1% like P Diddy, are supposed to pay a lot more to help provide for those who cannot afford it. That’s the way it’s operated in the US for three centuries.

  • Mrsadkiah

    From the comments I see that a lot of people don’t know much about the general finical aid process. 

  • Guest

    Are they giving them away? If so, I need one. It has to be earned. I’m glad to see that he is going to school and not just mooching off of daddy.

  • FromUR2UB

    I think scholarships are great. But come ooooon! They’re not just merit based, they’re supposed to be based on need too. The funds for scholarships are not endless, so that means, that a kid who may truly need the scholarship to go to school at all, may have been bumped by someone who’s father can easily pay his way. That’s what parents are supposed to do when they’re able: pay for their kids to go to college. His tuition would be like pocket change for P. Diddy, but for another young person, it might mean the difference between not going to school, having to work while going to school, or taking out loans and spending the next ten years after graduation, paying them back. I mean, he bought the kid a Maybach for his sixteenth birthday. THIS, on Diddy’s part, is kind of shameful.

    • Trisha_B

      There are scholarships that you can get from writing an essay about a life experience, you can get a scholarship from doing a science project, you can get a scholarship for just being left handed, you can get a scholarship for having foreign parents. Scholarships aren’t only for financial need. If a kid works hard, they should be rewarded. If there was a rich kid who has a high gpa & wrote a great essay, then there was a poor kid who had a low average gpa & wrote an ok essay The rich kid deserves the scholarship b/c they earned it. You can’t expect a handout b/c of the situation your in. You have to work for it. Justin didn’t take money from anyone!

      • FromUR2UB

        It’s interesting to me that you used the word “handout” in reference to a poor kid receiving it. Where did that come from? I was kind of thinking that a poor kid with a similar or better GPA, should be more deserving of it. Also, you said “Scholarships aren’t only for financial need.” Who said they were? However, if it were only about working hard and earning the grades, then anyone who does that should qualify for scholarship and be able to go to school for free. But, it doesn’t work that way. I’m just making the point that if a person has money, he should use it to help his own. That’s what money is for, and the advantage of having it. I have the feeling that if this were about Beyonce’ and a close relative of hers receiving the scholarship, that would be a whole lot clearer to more people.

        • ….

          “I have the feeling that if this were about Beyonce’ and a close relative of hers receiving the scholarship, that would be a whole lot clearer to more people. ”
          HALLELUJAH!!!!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/LaFemmeSASE Sharla Elcock

      Some universities have a strict criteria for merit based and need based scholarships and make a clear distinction between the two. In most cases a rich kid can only qualify for a merit based while a poor kid can qualify for both. Thats the system and thats fair. A 3.75 GPA and a star athlete means he earned it and nobody should take that away from him.

      • jk2001

        Generally, though, really rich people won’t even try for the merit-based scholarships, because there are middle class people who really need them. “Merit based” really only means that they’re open to people who don’t meet the usual guidelines for need, but the assumption is that education is so expensive that you really need the money.

  • crazijjjay

    He should keep the scholarship UCLA is going to make the money right back anyway.Has anybody else but me thought of it in any other way apart from his father being rich.I see it like this Justin is the son of a celebrity and some people want to be friends with celebrities.UCLA might see a spike in applications and accept more students than the year before and the following years to come which means they get more tuition from students, more people to attend and watch they game on t.v and might get more celebrity kids application and during that they could raise tuition yet again

    • jk2001

      Tuition there doesn’t cover the education, because it’s a public school. It’s partially subsidized by the state. It’s considered a strong academic school, and always has more applicants than openings. I’m sure there are already celebrities and famous children there. The son’s fame isn’t going to boost UCLA that much.

  • ProudofThe Kid

    His father is wealthy. There was NO reason for him to apply for a scholarship. Scholarships are specifically designed for students who could not otherwise afford to go to college. It was cheap and classless to apply for it.
    On the other hand, kudos to his son for winning it.

    • Mrsadkiah

      He didn’t apply for a scholarship. You don’t apply for athletic scholarships, you’re awarded them just because you’re good. It’s not even possible for him to apply for scholarships as Diddy is worth $45million. When you’re parents are in a certain tax bracket you’re not eligible for NEED BASED scholarship, which are scholarships that you apply for. Often times merit based scholarship are offered when you apply to the school, I have a 4 year partial scholarship that I earned based on my academics when I applied to my University. I never applied for it.

    • jk2001

      It’s more like a signing bonus. There are some scholarships given with the expectation that a greater donation will be made to the university in the future. It’s 54k today, but maybe in 10 years the Combs family will donate a million dollars to UCLA.

  • http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=Peaches%20The%20Writer PeachesTheWriter

    Not-so-famous rich people’s kids get scholarships and monetary awards all the time. This young man earned the scholarship. If he is pressured to give it up because of his family’s wealth, then that takes away from his independence. Sure, his parents can pay for him to go to school. But because of his hard work, they don’t have to.

  • IllyPhilly

    “We’re rich, not you.” Bill Cosby to Vanessa Cosby

    • Mrsadkiah

      Lol this comment is perfect. And I love that episode :)

    • KourageousKya

      LOL The best comment to fit this article!

    • KourageousKya

      LOL The best comment to fit this article!

    • tracee

      That was sooooo right on time!

  • L-Boogie

    I am very proud of this young man. He earned it so he should keep it. It would probably serve as an incentive for him to continue the good work.

  • staci

    I’m just glad that this young man has found & is working hard to follow his own path in life. All young men, especially those from rich backgrounds (cough, cough Jojo Simmons), should take heed. Your dad made his own way in life, you should find your own way & not rely on daddy’s money.

    • jk2001

      That’s for sure – but he did go to a top prep school, and got a very expensive car as a present. The example for rich children to set is to be philanthropic rather than selfish.

  • Trisha_B

    If Justin didn’t get a scholarship & just went to UCLA, people would have said Diddy paid for him to get into that school. If Justin didn’t go to college, people would be complaining that he’s living off of daddy’s money. Leave the kid alone. If Justin gives the scholarship back, no kid isn’t going to get it. It’s going to go back to the school. So that whole argument about giving it to a poor kid is pointless. & whose to say there is another kid the school was looking at that had a high GPA like Justins? If a poor kid wants to go to college, fill out your FAFSA early, your sure to get plenty of state grants (i did) then look into scholarships from the school & hit up google to look for other scholarships. There’s no excuse. You can’t expect a handout when your not doing the hard work. I know a good amount of athletes from my high school who only did the minimum in the classroom (2.5) b/c they thought all that matters was their work on the field & realized colleges weren’t taking them.

    • KORI

      There are no state grants in California anymore. Education is every man for himself. I think if you guys understood California’s special situation you would realize how pitiful it is that a rich kid is getting a scholarship.

      • http://www.facebook.com/LaFemmeSASE Sharla Elcock

        He worked hard for it, He earned it. Regardless of who his father is, let him keep it. HE EARNED IT.
        Momma has and Daddy has but blessed is the child who has his own.

      • Tagirl

        I graduated college in the early 2000’s and they’re not giving out the type of grants that they were back then anywhere. So it’s not just California. However, he won an athletic scholarship. He’s entitled to it. People need to get a grip.

      • Tagirl

        I graduated college in the early 2000’s and they’re not giving out the type of grants that they were back then anywhere. So it’s not just California. However, he won an athletic scholarship. He’s entitled to it. People need to get a grip.

      • KourageousKya

        He worked hard for the scholarship, whether California gives grants or NOT its not HIS problem!! If you work hard and do what you need to do in school, who your father is doesn’t matter because regardless YOU earned it! People really need to get a grip on this because you wouldn’t want your kid “discriminated” against if they worked hard and didn’t get the appreciation that they deserved because of your bank account!!!

      • KourageousKya

        He worked hard for the scholarship, whether California gives grants or NOT its not HIS problem!! If you work hard and do what you need to do in school, who your father is doesn’t matter because regardless YOU earned it! People really need to get a grip on this because you wouldn’t want your kid “discriminated” against if they worked hard and didn’t get the appreciation that they deserved because of your bank account!!!

    • jk2001

      3.75 is not a high GPA at UCLA. It’s really good, but the average there is over 4.0.

      • Trisha_B

        But he’s not at UCLA yet, he went to high school outside of California where a 3.7 on a 4.0 scale is high. They can’t base his GPA on there scale. Where he went to school at & in a lot of other states, his GPA was high

        • tracee

          Right on “Trisha!”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JAI4SRENU2A5WKRTELXXYJPDSI Kayla

    I just don’t like the fact that suddenly the issue of the less fortunate didn’t come up until he got the scholarship. If these people were so concerned why didn’t they help out the less fortunate before he got the scholarship? Let’s not forget that Diddy provides to charity. So he already helps out. Leave this kid alone. He earned it fair and square.

  • Charla

    Lots of rich kids attend college all the time on scholarships. Everyone has an equal opportunity to apply for scholarships. This coming from someone who had a partial scholarship and had to make up the rest with loans. And to the people saying Diddy should give a scholarship to a poor student, why? If you look at who’s benefiting from fafsa it’s the poor students. Thus, they are more likely to receive grants than middle class students. How about everyone work for what they want in life?

  • Nikki

    Hell naw he better keep that money he earned it let him be self made! He has to work for being a student athlete anyway!

  • http://www.facebook.com/therealdamiso Damiso Arrington

    I wouldn’t have given back
    anything and I definitely would not be apologetic about MY FATHER’S
    WEALTH. Because people are simple-minded and greedy about what the next
    man has, they want to take away an accomplishment that Justin earned on his own
    and HIS FATHER’S WEALTH could not purchase it for him. So it’s okay for a
    young man to accomplish things as long as HIS PARENTS are not loaded?
    Completely FOS on this one hater public

  • jason vorhees

    yea ALOT of people missed the fact that this scholarship is not actually taking away from needs based scholarships……ALOT of people

  • Fancy

    The fact that Justin comes from money and was still able to get a FULL ride (or even one at ride) speaks volume about his work ethic and self-worth. Diddy is worth a pretty penny (or a few dimes, lol) is more than capable of paying for Justin’s education, but Denzel Washington’s son also received a scholarsip to play ball back in 2004 and hold up…what about Master P’s son, Romeo? As for everyone who thinks that Justin getting an athletic scholarship is dipping into everyone else pie, hate to burst your bubble, but even if Justin gives it back – it goes to someone else immediately – NOT back into the system. In other words, anybody that is hurting financailly becuase of this would be in the same position with or without Justin.
    Justin, KEEP the money, use it WISELY and when you graduate, try not to rub your success in all your haters’ faces. Diddy does quite enough of that….
    Mmmkay, thanks!

  • cocochanel31

    I dont care about the scholarship bc hes smart but we all know good and darn well daddy probablly got him on that football team..look how small he is..UCLA is on of the top rate schools for football, Im not sure he wouldve made the team wout daddy combs..but he is a good kid ..they need to leave him alone

  • Kori

    If jr. takes the scholarship then Diddy himself should award another student (preferably one in a need based situation) with a full scholarship. Make it even.

    • Charla

      Why? That’s not Diddy’s job. Poor and rich kids can both apply for scholarships. Besides, when I was in college, it seemed as though all of the poor kids financial aid was met with pell grants. Something the middle class students weren’t eligible for.

      • KORI

        Very rarely is something your job, but its nice to do it. Poor or rich, California and especially the UC system is going through a hugh financial crisis limiting the number of local and even national students that can come. It’s just a slap in the face at all the financial aid and scholarships that are dwindling for everyone else but he just so happens to get one. I would know this because I’m a senior there right now, UCLA is basically making everyone pay for their own education, why not him?

  • Ladybug94

    He earned his scholarship, he should keep it. He could have easily been a lackluster athlete and student knowing that daddy can bail him out but her worked hard to earn his way to the college he wanted to attend rather than rely on daddy’s money.

  • msnaimah1985

    No he should not give his scholarship back. Since when does the financial status of your parents negate your academic scholarship. I am a mother who worked, did work study and recieve academic scholarships throughout college, and as hard as I had it, I would never suggest that Justin’s academic efforts be rewarded because his dad is a millionaire. As Africans we are damned if we do have money and especially damned if we don’t. Just leave us alone to live ourlives I’m tired of everyday people chimming in on what we should do as Black/African people.

    • KourageousKya

      I totally agree with this statement. Everything you said was what I was going to say. There has to be a valid reason that he got this scholarship!! I’m sure he worked very hard for it and I don’t think he should have to give it back b/c some salty a** mother or father is pissed that his father is a millionaire.

    • KourageousKya

      I totally agree with this statement. Everything you said was what I was going to say. There has to be a valid reason that he got this scholarship!! I’m sure he worked very hard for it and I don’t think he should have to give it back b/c some salty a** mother or father is pissed that his father is a millionaire.

  • Gimmeabreak78

    That young man EARNED his scholarship, period. No one should begrudge him the right to enjoy the fruits of his labor. Isn’t that what America is about (i.e. work hard and reap the benefits)? Isn’t that the example his father set for him in terms of work ethic? I’m no fan of Diddy having multiple children with multiple women out of wedlock, but I will not for one second accuse him of being lazy. He built the Bad Boy empire from nothing. If Diddy can pull his own weight and get rewarded for it, kudos to his son for being able to do the same.

    • Mrsadkiah

      Thank you. How many children of celebrities do we see just sitting around doing nothing because their parents are rich? This boy worked hard in school to get a 3.75 overall GPA when most poor or rich student athletes do the bare minimum (typically a 2.0) to get an athletic scholarship. To all you haters: whether Diddy could afford him tutors or not HE earned his grades. Do you ever stop to think that maybe this young man is PROUD that he earned a way to pay his way through college with out help from dad? He could have just done the bare minimum and had dad pay to get him in anyway. Also it’s an athletic scholarhsip. There is a specific amount set aside for each team, if he didn’t take it he would have filled the spot on the team, but the money would not go to someone else. I would more than likely be spent on the team

      To the people saying “well Diddy should give the same amount to a deserving student”? Why? He should pay because his son earned a scholarship and he just happens to be rich? No. Diddy, though I am not a fan, worked hard to build his empire and should not have to pay for being rich. This is typical poor/less well off people (I’m a broke college student so chill) who always want the rich to pay for being rich. ChillYou go Justin, I hope you continue to work hard and maybe one day set an example to many Black children, specifically these young Black male athletes, in the future that will help them to appreciate education.

      • jk2001

        Mr. Combs should give a lot more than his son received. It should be given to a scholarship fund. That’s the basic tradition in the US – the wealthy help fund the educations of the people who are smart but cannot afford college. (The reason why is that the engine of capitalism needs intellectual labor, and it’s generally the smart, poor kids who provide that labor.) In return, the school memorializes the donor’s name.

        It’s the American style of noblesse oblige, but attuned to the idea of “meritocracy”.

        • Mrsadiah

          So would you, or anyone else, be screaming about this “tradition” if Diddy had simply paid for his sons tuition? How about the thousands of other non-celebriites rich kids who’ve gone to college on scholarships; should their parents adhere to this “tradition” and give way more than their child’s scholarship was worth? No. Their children earned those REWARDS just like a poor kid could have. And as I explained how this scholarship works, Justin’s rewards isn’t taking money from anyone else. The money get’s spent on his education or it gets spent on the football program. No poorer child will benefit by him giving the scholarship back and obviously his athletic and academic talents beat out the other poor students who may have been rewarded.

           I could see this whole “Diddy should give to a poorer student” argument if by some miracle he received a need based scholarship. (I could SEE it, but I wouldn’t agree with it). However that would never happen because Diddy makes too much. Diddy has worked hard to be rich for a long time and already gives to many different charities. All of a sudden just because his son earned a reward he should be paying on top of that? No. He earned his riches and really doesn’t have to donate the money he already donates, but he does, apparently out of social “tradition”. Poor people aren’t entitled to rich peoples donations. Work on yourself and make sure your kids can earn a full ride to the college of their choice.