Will. i. Am of Black Eyed Peas
William James Adams, aka
Will.i.Am, was born on March 15, 1975 in the City of Los
Angeles where he attended the Fashion Institute of
Design and Merchandising. But by the time he got around
to launching his own clothing line (“i.am”) in 2005, the
talented Renaissance man had already found fame as front
man for Black Eyed Peas, the multiple Grammy-winning
hip-hop group with hits like “Let’s Get It Started” and
A versatile musician,
Will not only plays various keyboards, the bass and
drums, but also sings and raps as well. Besides Black
Eyed Peas, he’s produced several successful solo
projects, plus he has collaborated with a number of
other artists, including Sergio Mendes, Usher and Flo
Perhaps his most
important cultural contribution came during the run-up
to the presidential election, when he released “Yes We
the Emmy-winning song which ostensibly served as the
Obama campaign’s unofficial theme song. Will made his
first foray into acting last fall when he provided the
voice of Moto Moto in the animated feature Madagascar:
Escape 2 Africa. Here, he talks about all of the above,
and about X-Men Origins: Wolverine where
he co-stars opposite Hugh Jackman as John Wraith.
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Thanks for the time, Will. By the way, is this you or
just a hologram of you?
No, this is really Will.
I remember when you were interviewed by Anderson Cooper
as a hologram on Election Night. [YouTube]
Yeah, it’s wild being a hologram back then and now being
teleported in X-Men Origins.
I believe that your song “Yes We Can,” played a pivotal
role in getting young voters excited about Barack Obama
and that it helped him become President of the United
States. How do you feel about his first 100 days in
So far, he’s done great! People are enthusiastic about
America like they haven’t been in a very long time. He’s
passed the Stimulus Bill… the Stem Cell Research Bill…
he’s closed Guantanamo Bay. Base on that, this dude has
overachieved already. It’s really too early to be
judging him, but I’m super thrilled that he won, and I
think he’s doing a phenomenal job so far. The people
judging him now are the doubters who think there’s a
possibility that he’s going to fail. We can’t afford
that. It’s all psychological. If he fails, that means
we’ve failed, too, to since he’s in the White House
because of us. If we’re going to judge him now, then we
have to judge ourselves also, and ask, what have we done
since his inauguration?
Attorney Bernadette Beekman asks what inspired you to
write “Yes We Can?”
My passion. I was inspired by his speech, and by all the
invisible freedom fighters from the past who you never
read about in school.
Did you think it would help Obama become president?
No, I wrote it basically so teachers could teach his
speech in school. I wasn’t thinking, “I’m going to write
this song to make Obama our president.” That’s not
logical. I was thinking, “I’m going to write this song
so we would have a politician’s words being taught in
schools.” That was something I could do that would have
an immediate effect.
That’s brilliant, Will!
Thank you. That was the real reason I did it, although
there was the possibility that this dude could become
our president once he was already being taught to the
As for X-Men, what a spectacular screen debut you’re
getting to make by being a part of such a popular film
Yeah, it’s more than spectacular. It’s unbelievable, and
kind of crazy, if you ask me.
Did you base your approach to playing John Wraith on
I modeled him after my cousin, Earl. He used to be a
very, very bad, bad man. He’s done some bad, bad things,
but he’s also a very approachable, likable, huggable
kind of guy. He has some bad friends who’ve done bad
things, too, but he has a conscience.
How would you describe your character’s relationship to
Logan, aka Wolverine?
He and Wolverine are close buddies. They go off into the
world, and mess up things, but he has a heart, and knows
when enough is enough.
What was working with director Gavin Hood like?
Working with him was incredible. First of all, I love
his movies. He’s very talented and very endearing as far
as making you feel comfortable about tapping into all
the emotions you need to deliver. He pulls the best out
of you, and that’s awesome.
And how was it acting opposite Hugh Jackman?
Hugh Jackman is the nicest guy on Earth. I was like,
“Dang, dude,” he was so super nice.
Are you planning to make more movies?
I would love not only to do more work as an actor, but
to write and direct.
You’re an incredibly accomplished Renaissance man who
has made a mark in a number of fields. But you started
out in fashion. Is it still your first love?
Yeah, I love fashion. It is my love.
I know you were born in Los Angeles, but where are your
My folks are from Mississippi.
“Realtor to the Stars” Jimmy Bayan wants to know, where
in L.A. do you live now?
[Sings to the tune of Hollywood Swinging]
Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you
wish someone would?
It’s more the opposite. I’ve been asked a lot of
questions I wish people wouldn’t.
The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?
Afraid about what?
The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?
I’m happy every day of my life.
The Teri Emerson question: When was the last time you
had a good belly laugh?
The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last
book you read?
Can I be honest.
I’ve never really read a book.
I can read pretty well, but my attention span is really
short. When I read, the first paragraph is great, the
second is great, but by about the third paragraph or so,
I’m just reading the words and it’s no longer sinking
into my mind.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to
I’m going through that right now.
The Rudy Lewis question: Who’s at the top of your hero
I have many heroes. When it comes to molding my
character, my grandma, Sarah Cain, is my biggest hero.
We call her Nanny. And my mom, Debra, of course, too.
But aside from my family, my biggest hero is Quincy
Jones, by far.
A big fan of yours, Marcia Evans, loves those CDs you
made with Sergio Mendes. [YouTube]
She wants to know, how you liked working in Brazil.
I loved working there. Brazil is one of my favorite
places on the planet.
Marcia was also wondering what you think of the
I love the culture because black people in Brazil are
Brazilian, whereas in America, black people are black.
The Brazilians have graduated and have accepted pigment,
so they all just celebrate Brazilian-ness. I’m not
saying we need to abandon our origins, but Brazilians
are from Africa, too. America is almost there. Most of
us don’t know what part of Africa we’re from anyway.
I recently read a book by a sister who went back to
Africa to find her roots and came back feeling more
American than African.
Interesting. Brazil has faced the same issues we have,
but the difference is that they were conquered by the
Portuguese. Sergio Mendes taught me a whole lot about
African culture and how we’ve evolved from slavery. He
pointed out that the Portuguese didn’t strip their
slaves of their culture, so the Brazilian people were
able to grow together as a nation, avoiding what America
is suffering from.
What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow
in your footsteps, like my son who is majoring in music
I would say just to continue to make music and to share
it on the internet. That’s the future, in just making it
and sharing it.
Thanks again for the interview Will, and best of luck
with all your endeavors.
Thank you so much, dude.
posted 1 May 2009
* * *
see a trailer for X-Men
Origins: Wolverine, visit:
Will.i.Am’s campaign video for Barack Obama, “Yes We
Will.i.Am’s duet with Sergio Mendes of Mas Que Nada,
Te see a
hologram of Will.i.Am interviewed on CNN on Election
* * *
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Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All
By Russell Simmons
Russell Simmons knows firsthand that
wealth is rooted in much more than the
market. True wealth has more to do with
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can make you money, but money can't make
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The New Jim Crow
Mass Incarceration in the Age of
By Michele Alexander
Contrary to the
rosy picture of race embodied in Barack
Obama's political success and Oprah
Winfrey's financial success, legal
scholar Alexander argues vigorously and
persuasively that [w]e have not ended
racial caste in America; we have merely
redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial
segregation has been replaced by mass
incarceration as a system of social
control (More African Americans are
under correctional control today... than
were enslaved in 1850). Alexander
reviews American racial history from the
colonies to the Clinton administration,
delineating its transformation into the
war on drugs. She offers an acute
analysis of the effect of this mass
incarceration upon former inmates who
will be discriminated against, legally,
for the rest of their lives, denied
employment, housing, education, and
public benefits. Most provocatively, she
reveals how both the move toward
colorblindness and affirmative action
may blur our vision of injustice: most
Americans know and don't know the truth
about mass incarceration—but her
carefully researched, deeply engaging,
and thoroughly readable book should
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The White Masters of the
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By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois’
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
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Ancient African Nations
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If you like this page consider making a donation
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January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
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update 5 February 2012