Black Eyed Peas answer Super Bowl critics at all-star charity concert [Video]
Before ushering out a slate of high-profile surprise guests at a pre-Grammy Black Eyed Peas event, will.i.am and co. addressed their detractors following their recent Super Bowl halftime performance. What will.i.am offered was a freestyle littered with a few choice words that this blog can't print. But the bottom line? The Peas don’t give a hoot if you didn’t get their vision.
The event, held last Thursday at the Music Box in Hollywood, benefited will.i.am’s scholarship program. It could have easily succumbed to little more than who's-who madness, as stars squeezed down the red carpet for photo ops and crammed tiny VIP sections inside the theater. But this was a night of endurance, and rewarded those who were in it for the long haul rather than celeb-seekers.
After the group opened with hits “Boom, Boom, Pow” and “Pump It,” most of the less-than-enthusiastic -- and uncomfortably packed -- crowd swiftly funneled out. Over the course of the first hour, most opted to travel a block down the street to Usher’s party at Avalon, which this writer was denied entrance to after Jamie Foxx apparently was involved in some sort of scuffle.
The Peas, however, made the concert all about partying perseverance. Mini-sets were delivered by Cali Swag District, Ciara, K’naan, Natasha Bedingfield and John Legend -- and the Peas made sure to reward those who stayed into the wee morning hours. Will.i.am, for instance, used the night to tell personal anecdotes about growing up in Boyle Heights, and how his career has been a constant nod to his childhood.
When he was a middle-schooler and pals with Berry Gordy’s son Stefan, will.i.am. said, he gave Stefan a demo, one which was largely ignored. The Peas' future mastermind was told Stefan's legend of a father no longer listened to demos, especially those from his son’s seventh-grade classmates. Fast-forward to many years later, and will.i.am was singing with Stefan’s group LMFAO, who performed a sweat-inducing set to what was an increasingly intimate audience.
The history lesson continued late into the night, with will.i.am and Taboo getting to live out their lifelong dream of dancing backup to R&B vet Bobby Brown (yep, he was there and yep, that was, they said, one of their lifelong dreams). But if the multi-platinum group hadn’t already proved the respect they pulled within the industry, there was no doubt after they brought out Earth, Wind & Fire for a rousing set of classics after the clock had struck 2:30 a.m.
When the Peas took the stage for the umpteenth time to offer more hits, Fergie thanked the crowd for being “true partygoers,” and then took on one of the act's biggest hits with “I Gotta Feeling.”
Take a look at the action from the Peas below and stay tuned to more videos from Pop & Hiss.
-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
Photo and video credits: Gerrick D. Kennedy / Los Angeles Times