P. Diddy Kicks off Billboard Music Awards 2022 With Jab at Will Smith's Oscars Slap

P. Diddy has been like a bit of a carnival barker in the lead-up to his Billboard Awards hosting appearance. He's un-canceling performers like Travis Scott and Morgan Wallen, he's teed up much fun throughout the night, and he kicked off the show with the customary joke about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars.

"And in the spirit of being free, if you're feeling a bit froggy tonight...and you decide to jump on this stage here tonight? I do suggest you have your affairs in order. And I say that with love!," Diddy said, referencing Smith and possibly the recent incident in Los Angeles with Dave Chappelle. Both are far from the same moment, and have an extra layer of concern given the news around the U.S. this weekend.

Diddy did have some powerful words to include as part of his monologue. "Tonight is special, though, very, very special, because we all got a second chance at life. That's the message I really came here to bring,"the rap icon said. "There's a lot going on in the world and we really got a second chance at life I think that now because the world is open, sometimes we take things for granted, you know and so tonight we're going to celebrate like we got a second chance at life up in here.

"We're going to celebrate a chance to be able to do it better and do it bigger and celebrate each other," Diddy continued. "Because y'all got to know that we are blessed that we are here, we woke up this morning, and that's the greatest miracle that you could ask for."

Diddy also got to perform a bit with Jack Harlow at the top of the show, kicking things off and showing some of the styles he had with Bad Boy Records. If you're hearing that Suge Knight speech at the 1995 Source Awards, you might be an old-timer. You might also have flashbacks to the glory days of '90s hip hop that eventually gave Diddy the space to host a show like the Billboard Awards. So far he's getting the seal of approval from fans.

"This billboard awards show is wild Diddy just going crazy no rules," one wrote on Twitter. "Billboard is genius for having Diddy host," another added. Not everybody agreed on Diddy's performance, though. "[The Billboard Awards] have been on for an hour now and P Diddy has changed 3 times," one critic wrote. "P Diddy if you're the 'vibe creator' tonight then let me just say I'm really not feeling the vibe," another added.

The iconic rap star and cultural figure also executive produced the show, giving some background into how he was building the show around positivity and away from grudges. "We're un-canceling the canceled. [Brother] Love does not rock like that," he said. "I looked at Morgan's situation. I looked at Travis' situation and I said, 'Man, I got some power to do something about that because we can't start that in the music industry or even in life period, so I'm here to forgive, to unify, to celebrate, and to have everybody be free. That's my job."


Wallen's performance will be his first since his use of the n-word sparked a backlash and an apology from the country star that garnered mixed reviews. Meanwhile, Travis Scott was "canceled" apparently for entirely different reasons in the wake of his Astroworld concert tragedy. Ten people died at the show, which saw Scott continue to play amid pleas from the audience and criticism online. Scott played his first live show in Miami during F1 Weekend.