On Monday, his baby mama Kim Kardashian's birthday, Kanye West flew from San Francisco to the Hollywood Film Awards to present "12 Years a Slave" director Steve McQueen with a trophy. That gesture in itself seemed to reveal a lot about West's support of the historical drama. But then, later that evening, gossip sites began reporting that, after the awards show, West promptly flew back to the Bay Area, where he pulled off a massive engagement surprise for Kardashian at AT&T Park.
It was a major coup for Fox Searchlight, which needs all the help it can get in persuading moviegoers to head to the theater to see the at-times-hard-to-watch picture. And now, just days after West's public endorsement, the studio has another major music star in its corner: Sean "Diddy" Combs.
In a new advertisement (posted below) that aired on Diddy's freshly launched cable channel Revolt, the hip-hop artist urges his viewers to go see the film.
"This is not a paid endorsement. This is as a black man, a father, a human being of this world -- one of God's children," Diddy says, looking directly into the camera. "The truth has finally almost been told through this movie. This movie is very painful, but very honest, and is a part of the healing process."
Diddy's plea is a bit more personal than West's, as on Monday the rapper spoke mostly about McQueen's art world street cred. After calling the movie "extremely moving," he said one of the things he liked most about it was the way McQueen "held the shots."
"12 Years a Slave" opened in limited release last weekend and got off to a strong start, averaging $50,000 in the 19 theaters where it debuted. This weekend, Searchlight is hoping strong word of mouth -- and the support of celebrity heavyweights such as West and Diddy -- will attract a more commercial audience when the movie expands to 120 locations.