In the winter of 1997, a comedian from the Midwest helped broker peace in the East Coast/West Coast hip-hop rivalry, with the help of two of its biggest stars.
The Steve Harvey Show featured comedian Steve Harvey playing a former funk musician-turned-schoolteacher on the West Side of Chicago. It aired for six seasons from 1996 to 2002 and propelled both Harvey and co-star Cedric The Entertainer to greater acclaim.
But in first season episode "I Do, I Don't," which aired Feb. 22, 1997, Harvey used guest appearances to send a message to viewers who watched violence start to simmer through rap rivalries. In the episode, Harvey is approached by both Sean "Puffy" Combs and Snoop Dogg, who want to sample one of his songs. Though Steve is worried about getting the Bad Boy and Death Row hitmakers in the same room, they project a message of peace and mutual understanding - first in a private meeting with Harvey, and then with his students.
Unfortunately, the violence would get worse before it got better: just weeks after the episode aired, Combs' friend and labelmate The Notorious B.I.G. was killed in a still-unsolved drive-by shooting.