will.i.am responds to anti-LGBTQ+ backlash after Black Eyed Peas wore rainbow armbands in Poland

will.i.am, wearing a green sweater and brown brim cap, smiles to an audience while on stage at a concert.

Black Eyed Peas star will.i.am has responded to homophobic backlash after the band wore rainbow armbands for a New Year’s Eve concert broadcast on Polish state TV.

The US pop band wore the armbands during their headline set at TVP’s “New Year’s Eve of Dreams” show to count down the start of 2023.

The estimated 8.3 million viewers saw Black Eyed Peas perform ‘Where Is the Love?’ while wearing the pro-LGBTQ+ armbands, dedicating their hit song to “unity”.

The activism was in reference to Poland’s currently-in-power, right-wing Law and Justice party (PiS) and its vitriolic depiction of LGBTQ+ rights.

Additionally, same-sex marriage is not legally recognised in the country, which can cause great issues for same-sex couples’ rights to share assets or adopt.

Despite their efforts towards creating solidarity for the community, anti-LGBTQ+ viewers criticised Black Eyed Peas for what they called the destruction of so-called “modern values”.

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After an onslaught of homophobic complaints, criticisms, and comments, will.i.am responded that he performed the gig out of love.

“Unity, tolerance, understanding, oneness, respect, diversity & inclusion,” he wrote in a tweet. “That’s love. People are people and we should all practice to honour and love all the different types of people on earth and learn from them…”

But homophobic users weren’t having it, accusing the singer of double standards due to his concert in countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, where being queer is highly vilified.

But, as will.i.am wrote on several occasions, the Black Eyed Peas reportedly chose to perform in these countries as a symbol of “unity”.

“We went to these places to spread LOVE,” he added. “Why boycott when you can go directly to the source that needs to be inspired and try your hardest to inspire them and spread love.”

All memebers of the Black Eyed Peas celebrate after a concert, with confetti showering down on the audience infront of them.
Members of the Black Eyed Peas perform during a concert in Texas. (Getty)

Quote tweeting a comment that claimed the group toured to Poland “because of money”, will.i.am responded: “It’s called a music career…

“And I’m so happy and blessed that I am able to spread love and oneness and UNITY for a living,” he wrote. “And I am so blessed that with our success I am to give back with my i.am angel Foundation where we serve [12,000] students with STEM education.

“It’s called LOVE!!!” he continued.

Despite the backlash, pro-LGBTQ+ viewers took the chance to thank the pop group for its support of queer rights, with some writing that it “means a LOT to us“.

“will.i.am and Black Eyed Peas continue to [send] good vibes to the community live on air at Poland’s homophobic state TV,” one user wrote.

Another wrote: “Thank you Will for being an upstanding human being and for being a voice for all the people who face discrimination and wrongdoing every day!”

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