Black Eyed Peas troll Polish government with rainbow armbands during state TV New Year’s concert

Black Eyed Peas

American pop band Black Eyed Peas have trolled the Polish government by wearing pro-LGBTQ+ armbands during a state TV New Year’s Eve concert. 

The band performed live on air as the headline act at TVP’s showpiece “New Year’s Eve of Dreams”. 

During the concert, which had an estimated audience of 8.3 million, the band wore rainbow armbands in support of the queer community and dedicated their hit song “Where Is the Love? to “unity”. 

The group named communities that experience hate including Jews, people of African descent and LGBTQ+ people. 

Following the show lead singer will.i.am took to social media to reiterate that the band stands for peace. 

“We are the Black Eyed Peas… or you can say Black Eyed Peace, because we are for peace, equality, harmony.

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“We are not the Black Eyed PiS,” he said, referring to Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party.

Will.i.am
Will.i.am has stood up for LGBTQ+ rights in Poland. (Getty)

PiS has been in power since 2015 and used an anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric during the 2019 and 2020 election cycle to mobilise conservative voters. It did so by portraying what it called “LGBT ideology” as a foreign set of values threatening the Polish family and the state itself, “even more dangerous” than communism.

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“We stand for unity, love, tolerance, oneness… sometimes you gotta go where people don’t have the same views to inspire them on difference, to inspire them on difference and what tolerance looks like,” will.i.am added.

TVP is a Polish broadcaster which is believed to have played a part in Poland’s ruling party campaign against what it calls “LGBT ideology”. 

Since the performances aired it has sparked outrage among right-wing politics group, United Poland (Solidarna Polska), who have called it a “disgrace” and “condemned” the celebration of “deviance”. 

In a Tweet posted after the concert deputy justice minister Marcin Warchoł from United Poland wrote: “LGBT promotion in TVP2 . DISGRACE! It’s not a New Year’s Eve of Dreams but a New Year’s Eve of Deviance.” 

“Homopropaganda on TVP for $1 million,” wrote in turn deputy agriculture minister Janusz Kowalski.

PiS MP and member of the National Media Council, Joanna Lichocka, encouraged her government colleagues to enjoy the performance instead of commenting on it. 

“Gentlemen of United Poland, drink champagne on New Year’s Eve. Instead of lashing out politically even now. Poland wants to have fun today – turn off the instigation. Have a good New Year,” she wrote.

TVP presenter Tomasz Kammel, who ran the New Year’s concert, said “every element of their outfits” and the performance on stage was planned. 

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Black Eyed Peas were announced as the headline act on the show, which according to media reports may have cost public television $1 million. 

The band performed live in the mountain resort of Zakopane after ex-Spice girl Melanie C pulling out, citing “issues that do not align with the communities I support”.

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