Black Eyed Peas ready to uplift spirits at Expo 2020 Dubai

DELROY CONSTANTINE SIMMS
4 min readJan 25, 2022
© MEP01837 — music, band DUBAI, 24 January 2022. Apl.de.ap (L), Taboo ©, Will.i.am (R) during Black Eyed Peas Press Conference at the Expo Media Centre (EMC), Expo 2020 Dubai. (Photo by Christophe Viseux/Expo 2020 Dubai)

DUBAI, 25 January 2022 — Celebrating 35 years of friendship and 25 years of smash-hit success, Black Eyed Peas’ performance at Al Wasl Plaza, on the apt date of 25 January, is guaranteed to be food for the soul.

Aligned with Expo’s subtheme of Mobility, the show from the Los Angeles trio — will.i.am, Apl.de.Ap and Taboo — is set to be a dynamic one, emboldened by the pace and pulse of technology and music that conquers new musical frontiers.

will.i.am said: “If you think of our journey, Mobility fits us perfectly because we wouldn’t have been the group that we are today if Apl.de.Ap didn’t come from the Philippines. This is the perfect example of mobility — to be able to move to one place and achieve your dreams in spite of your limitations.”

Apl.de.Ap said: “My disability became my ability.”

will.i.am added: “Apl is legally blind, and he came to America when he was 14 to get a better education and improve his eyesight. That led me to meeting my best friend and to us starting the Black Eyed Peas. He is the eye of the Black Eyed Peas now.”

In spite of will.i.am being widely regarded as the most famous of the trio, they are all adamant their combined success is down to teamwork and an unbreakable friendship.

will.i.am said: “You can’t pick your family, but you can choose your friends. And real friends need to share your goals and your dreams.”

The Filipino diaspora in the UAE is huge, which arguably makes Apl.de.Ap the biggest drawcard in this region.

will.i.am explained: “I arrived at Dubai airport this morning and had loads of Filipinos coming up to me saying: ‘You’re the one that plays in the band with Apl.de.Ap.’”

The band, who joked they have “made a career out of going out” said that being in different countries, trying new venues, listening to music and soaking up the vibes is the source of their inspiration: “We’re definitely going out in Dubai tonight!”

Known for exploiting different technology in their music, BEP’s unique, futuristic sound is catalysed by them being engaged in a lifetime learning process, they said.

“We are students, not just of music, but the landscape of creativity. Since we were teenagers, we’ve always been trying to advance culture — trying to see what the next dance move or music craze is. Right now, there’s a lot of stuff happening, from NFTs [Non-Fungible Tokens] to cryptocurrency, and we want to dive into that world. We used augmented reality before anyone else was doing it, and dabbled with artificial intelligence in videos like Rock That Body. We can’t wait for people to see that in our next release.”

“Get ready for the next instalment is all we’re saying!” responded will.i.am when pushed for details.

will.i.am said: “Taboo is the master of getting the crowd involved. He’s like an energetic bunny up on stage. We all feed off the audience, too, and we know that tomorrow’s show is going to be livestreamed to millions.”

With self-expression, community involvement and digital literacy at its forefront, BEP’s Peapod Foundation is an extension of the band themselves, and as intrinsic to them as their music is.

will.i.am said: “The origin of Black Eyed Peas is philanthropic. Joe Ben Hudgens, a lawyer involved in The Pearl S. Buck Foundation, sponsored Apl.de.Ap when he was five and adopted him aged 14.”

Apl.de.Ap said: “I’d like to give us a thank you to Pearl S. Buck Foundation. That’s the foundation that helped to bring me to Los Angeles and that’s why we like to pay it forward.”

will.i.am said: “Before we even became famous, we’d called Five Acres orphanage in Altadena, where we would do toy drives. As we became more successful, we wanted to do more, especially for kids that didn’t have families or the tools to express themselves. Since then we’ve branched off: in the Philippines, Ap has 34 schools; I have one in the ghetto I grew up in, and through my partnership with Los Angeles Unified School District, we are in 200 schools across LA, serving around 11,000 students with robotics and computer science skill sets.”

Taboo, who is a cancer survivor, works with the Native American community and is helping bring awareness to the fight against the disease: The US-born artist, has Mexican parents and Shoshone Indian heritage from his mother’s side. “I’ve made it my duty to be a conduit of hope and inspiration. I’ve aligned myself with the amazing Dr Agus, who was basically the quarterback of my treatment, to give hope to others, especially youth.”

With many African-Americans believing that nutritious black-eyed peas bring luck in the New Year, this feel-good, humanitarian band who are breaking new grounds to drive humankind forward, will deliver a performance packed with tempo, pace and escapism to keep 2022 going on a positive note.

Black Eyed Peas will perform at Al Wasl Plaza on 25 January from 2030 GST. Visitors wishing to attend the concert are advised to arrive early.

The concert will be livestreamed globally on www.virtualexpodubai.com and available to watch across multiple channels, including Expo TV on YouTube, Facebook, TikTok and Oculus (VR). A number of TV channels will also broadcast the show live.

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