News: Will.i.am Responds To VMAs Blackface Criticism, "My Outfit Set 'Black People Back 100 Years'?"

Monday, Sep 13, 2010 5:29PM

Written by Rosario Harper

Black Eyed Peas' Will.i.am has defended his decision to appear in blackface at last night's Video Music Awards in California.

Writing via his Twitter page, Will questioned the criticism surrounding his set.

"1st. just because I where all black including head mask as expression and emphasize my outfit, it shouldn't be looked at as racial...," Will tweeted.
"Let go of the past. there are far more important things 2 bark about. (Jobs, health, education) not a black man wearing all black everything."
"Are you guys serious? my outfit set "black people back 100 yrs" choose your twits wisely. no education sets people back, no jobs, bad health" (Will.i.am's Twitter)

Upon hitting the stage last night, Will stirred a flurry of Twitter reactions from fans.

Back in black? When Black Eyed Peas bandleader Will.i.am joined Nicki Minaj during the VMA pre-show Sunday, outraged fans slammed the 35-year-old rapper's for appearing in blackface. "Will.i.am. wearing blackface!? What a racist!" fakeart123 tweeted. Adds TSCMoncton, "Anyone notice that Will.i.am painted himself in blackface? I sure hope there's some kind of meaning behind a stunt like that." Blackface -- which first gained popularity during the 19th century -- typically promotes racist stereotypes toward African Americans. In addition to his face paint, Will.i.am wore head-to-toe black (including a shiny hair piece in the shape of a side-mohawk). (Us Magazine)

Will also appeared on-stage with Young Money's Nicki Minaj.

Wearing a bright pink and purple metallic one piece with a pink wig topped with a bee-hive and backed by two dancers, Nicki took the stage to her chart-topping hit "Your Love." After singing a few seconds of the track, the song sped up and transitioned to her latest "Check It Out." That's when will.i.am joined her on stage, taking "all black everything" to new heights as he wore black from head to toe -- literally. The rapper/producer not only had a black top, pants and sneakers, he was also in Black face and had a hard, shinny hair piece on in the shape of a side -mohawk with a strip of bright pink down the middle. The two were later joined by a male break dancer, who popped and locked it to the beat. (Billboard)

Aside from the controversy, Will's Black Eyed Peas album E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies) has continued to sell records.

Award-winning group Black Eyed Peas' E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies) moved five slots down to No. 39 with 9,700. With 65 weeks in the books, the group's 2009 album has now sold 2,766,400 records. (SOHH Sales Wrap)

Check out footage of Will.i.am's performance down below:

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