Born and raised in the Boyle Heights projects of East Los Angeles, will.i.am had much to overcome during his upbringing. Still, he was given many outlets to express his creativity and he began paving his way into the music industry from an early age. The Black Eyed Peas officially formed in 1997, and their breakout album, the modern classic Elephunk, was released in 2003. Songs like “Where is the Love,” “Shut Up,” and “Let’s Get It Started” ignited the pop airwaves and club scene. Several more hits have followed with each subsequent album release, including “Don’t Phunk with My Heart” and “I Gotta Feeling,” making the Black Eyed Peas one of the most successful and resilient musical groups of the last decade.
As a musician, performer, and producer, will.i.am has proven himself as innovative, industrious, and highly skilled as a communicator. These same qualities are what make him one of today’s leaders in social activism. With his non-profit i.am.angel foundation, Will has brought inspiration and opportunity to countless children in all areas of education, including math, science, and, of course, music. The organization devotes considerable resources to community development projects, including Will’s hometown neighborhood of Boyle Heights. One of the most unique qualities of the i.am.angel foundation is its dedication to supporting educational growth in technology, including a program that teaches kids computer coding and programming skills. Will has also signed on as a consultant with some major electronics companies to develop new innovations in smart phones, tablets, and laptops. Through these partnerships, will.i.am is not only helping to push the envelope in technological development, but also to provide kids with the knowledge and skills to succeed as inventors and entrepreneurs.
Above all else, will.i.am’s incredible ability to connect with others is rooted in his personality and passion. He is the role model that kids find cool enough to follow, as well as the modern creative artist whose needs technology is striving to keep up with. He is simultaneously unique and approachable, confident and conscientious. The world could use many more minds like Will’s. With his tireless contributions and the important work of the i.am.angel foundation, the future is certain to see these minds develop into something great.