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© 2001 Indian Country Tomorrow
Peltier, P-Diddy Form Media Empire
SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2001

leonard peltier sean combs
P-Diddy does the "Leavenworth Shuffle." Photo © Reuters.
LEAVENWORTH, KS -- In what the music industry has hailed as a landmark deal, hip-hop impresario Sean "P-Diddy" Combs and American Indian Movement (AIM) activist Leonard Peltier on Saturday night announced the formation of a new entertainment, education, and empowerment empire from behind the walls of the federal prison cell they share in Leavenworth, Kansas.

"Puffy has always been a businessman, first and foremost," fellow rapper and producer Dr. Dre told Indian Country Tomorrow. "This move shows that even in a jail cell, you can't keep a brother down."

Although financial details are sketchy, the deal is rumored to be in the hundreds of millions. Known as P.P. Dogg Productions, the project aims to marry P-Diddy's "ghetto fabulous" lifestyle with Peltier's "red man" spirituality, representing artists as diverse as Lil' Snoop Dogg and The Black Lodge Singers.

And judging by the reactions of their fellow inmates, the compact is indeed revolutionary. Previously fractionated prison groups from Mexican drug lords to White supremacists joined together in throwing their hands in the air last night at an introductory concert performed by P-Diddy proteges Destiny's Child.

"I give much love to all the prisoners," lead singer Byonce, the only remaining member of the award-winning group, told Indian Country Tomorrow after the performance.

Northern Traditional drum group Southern Cree also performed at the event.

leonard peltier sean combs
Louis J. Freeh. Photo © Reuters.
FBI agents throughout the country were less enthusiastic. They protested outside the prison during the performance, decrying the P-Diddy-Peltier partnership and promising to prevent the pair from profiting from the project.

"Peltier is a cold-blooded murderer who must remain in jail," said FBI Director Louis J. Freeh, who promised a full-scale investigation into Peltier's new effort.

But the outspoken Freeh dodged allegations that he orchestrated the entire affair through a covert FBI operative harkening back to the days of their "Reign of Terror" on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota during the 1970s. As revealed by a series of letters published on the website of Representative Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), it was Freeh who urged Attorney General John Ashcroft that Combs be transferred from a federal prison in Virginia to the Kansas facility.

In an exclusive interview with BET Television last week, Combs -- convicted of federal bribery and obstruction of justice charges stemming from a special investigation into a $5 million campaign contribution he made to convince President George W. Bush to pardon Peltier -- acknowledged he had never heard of the imprisoned activist until he attended a White House tea during which he met Freeh.

According to Combs, Freeh brought up Peltier's imprisonment and when Combs indicated he didn't think it was right for the FBI to oppose Peltier's bid for clemency, Freeh said the rap star should "put his money where his mouth is."

"So I did," responded Combs. "I gave mad dough to the Republican Party because I knew it might help sway Bush," he continued. "If it worked for Denise Rich, who hasn't had as many Number 1 hits as I have, I thought it would work for me."

leonard peltier sean combs
P.P. Dogg CEO Wanda Yellow Hair and her executive assistant, James. Photo © NSM.
Production on P.P. Dogg's first big screen movie, an auto-biography of Peltier and his role in AIM, is going well, said CEO Wanda Yellow Hair. But it has already suffered a setback: Combs' former girlfriend, Jennifer Lopez, dropped out of the project last week.

The Daily Variety reports in tomorrow's issue that Irene Bedard has signed on to replace J-Lo. The role of Peltier has not yet been filled, although Variety reports Adam Beech and Val Kilmer have read for the part.

However, on her website, Indian movie insider "The Kiowa Scout" says Oliver Stone, the movie's producer and director, has already rejected Beech because "he looked too Indian." Scout also says Kilmer has gained 50 lbs in an attempt to convince Stone he is the right man for the part.

Yellow Hair would neither confirm nor deny either the Variety or Scout reports. But she did confirm that actor Russell Means has been turned down repeatedly for roles, from playing his own self to Richard Wilson, former Oglala Lakota Tribal Chairman and organizer of the Guardians of the Oglala Nation (GOON), the government-funded vigilante group accused of instigating violence against AIM members and supporters.

"This isn't a cartoon," Yellow Hair told Indian Country Tomorrow. "It's a real movie. We don't feel our high-quality production would be the right vehicle for him."

Author, poet, producer, and LA Laker alternate Sherman Alexie has agreed to consult with the movie's screenwriters as soon as he finishes his stand-up comedy tour opening for Korean comic Margaret Cho.

© 2001 Indian Country Tomorrow