Seven-time Grammy award winner Will.i.am, best known for being the frontman of the Black Eyed Peas, believes in the importance of science in America. He thinks it’s time that our schools start focusing on the basic building block of technology. “We should be supporting our geniuses…these are the leaders of the world in the next ten years.” Will.i.am explained on the What’s Trending Live show. “You can’t sit and wait for (people) to do things that you know should be done.”
This week’s #Influencer, Wii.i.am said he was inspired to start the “i.AM FIRST: Science is Rock & Roll” program after he was on tour and riding his Segway backstage. After tracking down the inventor of the technology behind it, Dean Kamen, he started a friendship with the man he calls, “…today’s Edison.” The entertainer’s conversations with Kamen made him realize that a dedication on teaching and celebrating science and technology needed to be brought back to U.S. schools.
Will.i.am explained that Kamen’s U.S. F.I.R.S.T (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), “Teaches kids from 8 to 19 about science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”
Using his own money, he bought air time from ABC to feature a live back-to-school special about the kids who competed at the 20th Annual F.I.R.S.T. Robotics Competition, an event which aims to inspire young people to become science and technology leaders. In addition to a live performance from the Black Eyed Peas, the show also includes appearances by Justin Bieber, Bono and Justin Timberlake.
The Black Eyed Peas founder said that making sure science is highlighted in eduction is his priority. In 2008, Will.i.am was instrumental in getting people out to vote through his viral videos. He said, “I’m only going to make a video when I’m inspired,” he explained. “The whole Crypts and Bloods, Republican Democrat hoopla. I’m not about that. I’m about true innovation, true inspiration and that inspiration is via technology and watching these kids do amazing things…You have to applaud these kids. You have acknowledge what they’re doing.”
As for how tech has influenced his music? He says digital lets him run his studio on his laptop and connect with fans directly, circumventing the label entirely.
Find out more about the special and his initiative at IAmFirst.Dipdive.Com. You can also join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtags #iamFIRSTtv and #OMGrobots. “I Am First: Science is Rock ‘n Roll” airs this Sunday, April 14 at 7 p-m Eastern time on ABC.