Black Eyed Peas’ wanted to send Poland ‘clear message’ on LGBTQ+ rights

Black Eyed Peas

The Black Eyed Peas have reflected on their decision to wear rainbow armbands while performing in Poland last New Year’s Eve, saying they wanted to send an “unmistakeable message”.

Poland is notorious for its poor record on LGBTQ+ rights. The country has faced criticism and legal action over its so-called LGBT-free zones, where areas have signed resolutions declaring them free of LGBTQ+ “ideology”. Politicians are openly hostile to the queer community, while violence is common – in May, a woman was shot in the head with a BB gun simply for carrying a Pride flag.

It’s why many were surprised when US-based pop band Black Eyed Peas, which is currently comprised of rappers,, Taboo and J. Rey Soul, performed a New Year’s Eve concert in the country.

But the group, which has consistently shown a support for the queer community, demonstrated their allyship by proudly wearing rainbow armbands – a spectacle that was reportedly watched by 8.3 million viewers.

The gig was sponsored by Poland’s state broadcaster, TVP, and prompted all manner of outrage from bigoted politicians and citizens. is aware now – and was aware then – that wearing those rainbow armbands was a loud, proud statement to make. The rapper has further opened up about the choice while speaking to Metro.

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“It was important to us that the live audience and the fans watching the New Year’s Eve show on TV understood that while the event was being broadcast by a state-owned network, that the position of the government leaders about LGBTQ+ issues were NOT shared by us,” told the publication.

The Black Eyed Peas frontman went on to say that wearing those armbands was the band’s “way of sending a clear message”, and revealed that they did so in consultation with the network’s executives.

“We love all our fans and believe that everyone should be free to love whoever they choose without government interference or suppression,” he said.

As if the “Let’s Get It Started” superstar couldn’t have been any clearer on his stance, he then doubled down on why exactly the band opted to stand so visibly in support of the LGBTQ+ community in Poland.

“Wearing rainbow armbands on stage was our way of sending a very clear, unmistakable message: that Black Eyed Peas stand in solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community, that queer rights are human rights, and that we do not agree with any government policies that allow some citizens to be treated differently, have fewer rights, or be put in harm’s way, whether that is based on sexuality, gender, race, ability, or country of origin.”

After the original wave of backlash the decision garnered at the start of the year, responded by tweeting: “Unity, tolerance, understanding, oneness, respect, diversity and inclusion.

“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 … ”

According to ILGA-Europe‘s 2023 report, the status of LGBTQ rights in Poland is the worst among European Union countries. There is no legal recognition of same-sex marriage, and same-sex couples are not legally allowed to adopt.

The Black Eyed Peas will be continuing their run of championing the queer community by headlining Brighton Pride on 6 August – though many fans reacted to the announcement with a fair amount of confusion, given that none of its members are openly queer, and the band no longer features gay icon and national anthem butcherer Fergie.