The principal at Benjamin Franklin High School wanted a speaker who would get students' attention.
The cheers of 750 students when Sean "Diddy" Combs took the stage told Principal Cristopher Johnson he had found one.
"This is a really important time for you all right now," Combs said. "This is the time that is going to dictate your future."
The 36-year-old founder of Bad Boy Records looked the part in sunglasses and flashy jewelry. He called some students on stage and talked to them one on one about their goals. His advice: work hard and stay in school.
"Take responsibility for your future. No excuses!" Combs said.
The school district also plans to use Diddy's message in an anti-truancy campaign, said Cecilia Cummings, senior vice president for communications and community relations.
"We wanted someone whom they would sit down and listen to, someone who comes from the same type of background," said Johnson. "To have a superstar come in to talk is extremely powerful."
Combs' new album, "Press Play," is scheduled for release next month.