I’ve never seen Kenny Leon’s version of A Raisin in the Sun featuring Sean “Diddy” Combs as Walter Lee Younger. I was aware that many trained actors were disappointed in the casting given the rap mogul’s unproven talent for the stage. I don’t know if Diddy can act, but the casting was spot on!
In the play, Walter Lee wants to use the money from his father’s life insurance policy to open a liquor store. In spelling out his plan to his wife Ruth, Walter tries to make it clear that he’s got it all figured out:
Walter: “You see, this little liquor store we got in mind cost seventy-five thousand and we figured the initial investment on the place be ’bout thirty thousand, see. That be ten thousand each. Course, there’s a couple of hundred you pay so’s you don’t spend your life just waiting for them clowns to let your license get approved–“
Ultimately, Mama Younger makes a $3500 down payment on a house in Clybourne Park, an all-white neighborhood. Mama asked Walter to put $3000 in college savings for his sister Beneatha, and the rest was to be Walter’s. Instead of honoring his mother’s request, Walter gives the entire sum to one of his “business partners” who then takes the money and hits the bricks. Everyone is upset, but not broken. They decide to take their chances with their down payment on the house in Clybourne Park despite having no money to sustain their occupancy.
As I’ve been seeing images of Diddy promoting vodka and tequila, I can’t help but think of Walter Lee. I don’t know what it means yet, but Diddy has definitely realized Walter Lee’s dream.