Rap mogul SEAN 'P DIDDY' COMBS is so moved by the strong message in his hit Broadway play A Raisin in the Sun, he's started to make big changes in his personal life.

The BAD BOY RECORDS boss - who stars as WALTER LEE YOUNGER, a character which Sidney Poitier made famous in the 1961 movie version - is settling comfortably into New York's highly regarded theatre community, and he credits Poitier's encouraging words for his successful run.

Diddy - who stars opposite Sanaa Lathan, Phylicia Rashad and AUDRA McDONALD in the production - says, "I never would have thought someone would be yelling 'bravo' at me on Broadway. It's just the greatest and it's definitely prepared me for my future as an actor.

"I was blessed to have reached out to Sidney Poitier, who believed in me. He said, 'I believe in it. I feel it. Any help you need.' I definitely owe a lot to him (for) giving me that boost of confidence to not look back.

"It's been the most incredible experience that has also just changed my life personally. It just made me step back. I started calling my mother and giving her things.

"The play makes you deal with certain issues that we run from, which is being appreciative about the smaller things in life."

21/05/2004 00:07