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Black Eyed Peas, Adobe launch youth film and music program

February 5, 2009 | 11:12 am

Hip-hop artist will.i.am is not a fan of the schools in underprivileged neighborhoods and believes there needs to be alternatives for students. So the member of the Black Eyed Peas is announcing today that two new film programs will open in the Bay Area and he hopes to open one in East L.A.

“I don’t know why ... it just seems that all these areas ... the education,” is not good, said will.i.am, who performed in a pre-inauguration concert for President Barack Obama.

Kids in those areas instead seek other outlets, mostly crime, sports or music, he said. That inspired the Peas’ Peapod Foundation music and arts academy in Watts that opened a year ago. The Boyle Heights native credits music with saving his life.

The new programs in the Bay Area will be run in conjunction with the San Francisco-based Adobe Foundation, which for two years has run similar centers focused on helping students produce both short films and documentaries on issues that affect them. A few of the films have been shown at the Sundance and Human Rights Watch film festivals.

For both the Peas and Adobe, the benefit for the kids is not purely creative outlets and self-esteem, but practical skills and possibly job opportunities. Already one of the students at Peapod has scored a gig editing a video for apl.de.ap, another of the Peas uniquely named members, and a few others have worked with Madonna.

-- Raja Abdulrahim