Black Eyed Peas Frontman Will.i.am Rejects Israel Boycott Campaign Ahead of Jerusalem Concert
Black Eyed Peas lead singer will.i.am said supporters of the Palestinian-led boycott campaign against Israel would not deter him from performing in the Jewish state and investing in its booming high-tech industry.
“I’m a musician and a tech enthusiast and people like our music,” the frontman — alongside two of the group’s other members, Taboo and Apl.de.ap — told the Associated Press ahead of the band’s concert in Jerusalem on Monday.
Will.i.am, whose real name is William Adams, pointedly asked, “Do I turn my back on people that live here because of politics? No, that’s not the way we were built. So, you know, there’s beautiful people here as well as beautiful people in Palestine. And one day we want to go there too.”
The singer’s remarks came after the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel claimed the Monday concert was “all the more scandalous” because it took place on the United Nations’ day of solidarity with the Palestinians. BDS supporters unsuccessfully called for the show’s cancellation and created the hashtag #WhereIsTheLoveforPalestinians, in reference to the group’s popular song “Where is The Love.”
Will.i.am also described his many personal ties to Israelis as a reason why he would not succumb to the boycotters’ agenda. He told the Associated Press that his first girlfriend was Israeli and that when the Black Eyed Peas started off in Los Angeles, they made music in an Israeli friend’s bedroom and took part in Shabbat dinners at his home.
The Black Eyed Peas previously held concerts in Israel in 2006 and 2007. One of the group’s hit songs, “I Gotta Feeling,” includes Hebrew lyrics. Last year, they collaborated on the track “Shake Ya Boom Boom” with Israeli pop duo Static and Ben El.
Will.i.am’s technology company i.am+ acquired an Israeli start-up in 2016. He has visited the country many times in the past, and spoke at the IMPROVATE 2021 International Innovation Forum in Jerusalem during the band’s stop in Israel this week.