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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.

 

 

            Will. i. Am of Black Eyed Peas

                  Wolverine Interview with Kam Williams

 

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 “My Humps.”

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 Rida.

Perhaps his most important cultural contribution came during the run-up to the presidential election, when he released “Yes We Can,” [YouTube], 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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Will.i.Am: Hi Kam.       

Kam Williams: Thanks for the time, Will. By the way, is this you or just a hologram of you?

WiA: No, this is really Will.      

KW: I remember when you were interviewed by Anderson Cooper as a hologram on Election Night. [YouTube]

WiA: Yeah, it’s wild being a hologram back then and now being teleported in X-Men Origins.    

KW: 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 office?

WiA: 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?

KW: Attorney Bernadette Beekman asks what inspired you to write “Yes We Can?”

WiA: 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.        

KW: Did you think it would help Obama become president?

WiA: 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.            

KW: That’s brilliant, Will!

WiA: 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 kids.       

KW: As for X-Men, what a spectacular screen debut you’re getting to make by being a part of such a popular film franchise.

WiA: Yeah, it’s more than spectacular. It’s unbelievable, and kind of crazy, if you ask me.  

KW: Did you base your approach to playing John Wraith on anybody?

WiA: 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.        

KW: How would you describe your character’s relationship to Logan, aka Wolverine?

WiA: 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.        

KW: What was working with director Gavin Hood like?

WiA: 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.

KW: And how was it acting opposite Hugh Jackman?

WiA: Hugh Jackman is the nicest guy on Earth. I was like, “Dang, dude,” he was so super nice.          

KW: Are you planning to make more movies?

WiA: I would love not only to do more work as an actor, but to write and direct.       

KW: 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? 

WiA: Yeah, I love fashion. It is my love.    

KW: I know you were born in Los Angeles, but where are your parents from? 

WiA: My folks are from Mississippi.     

KW: “Realtor to the Stars” Jimmy Bayan wants to know, where in L.A. do you live now?

WiA: [Sings to the tune of Hollywood Swinging] Hollywooooooooooood!!!!!

KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?

WiA: It’s more the opposite. I’ve been asked a lot of questions I wish people wouldn’t.      

KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?

WiA: Afraid about what?    

KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?

WiA: I’m happy every day of my life.       

KW: The Teri Emerson question: When was the last time you had a good belly laugh?

WiA: Last night. 

KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?

WiA: Can I be honest.      

KW: Of course.

WiA: I’ve never really read a book.        

KW:: Why not?

WiA: 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.        

KW: What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?

WiA: I’m going through that right now.        

KW: The Rudy Lewis question: Who’s at the top of your hero list?

WiA: 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.         

KW: 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.  

WiA: I loved working there. Brazil is one of my favorite places on the planet.       

KW: Marcia was also wondering what you think of the Brazilian culture.

WiA: 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.

KW: 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.

WiA: 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.  

KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps, like my son who is majoring in music in college? 

WiA: 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.    

KW: Thanks again for the interview Will, and best of luck with all your endeavors.

WiA: Thank you so much, dude.        

posted 1 May 2009

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To see a trailer for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, visit:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCTDVNgNUeY

To see Will.i.Am’s campaign video for Barack Obama, “Yes We Can,” visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjXyqcx-mYY

To see Will.i.Am’s duet with Sergio Mendes of Mas Que Nada, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zh307IdQ4cw

Te see a hologram of Will.i.Am interviewed on CNN on Election Night, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deoOTqT-SMI

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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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 stock  market. True wealth has more to do with what's in your heart than what's in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America's shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, "Happy can make you money, but money can't make you happy."

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

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 change that.—Publishers Weekly

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 5 February 2012

 

 

 

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