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Rapper will.i.am helps introduce Obama to ‘Buckeye peas’

Andrew Holleran / Photo editor

Will.i.am could have very well been mistaken for a Buckeye Tuesday.

From his bow tie, mimicking President E. Gordon Gee, to his black and red plaid shoes, the rapper seemed quite comfortable on campus. If only those black spikes on the toes of his flats and that velvet coat didn’t give his celebrity status away…

The frontman of the Black Eyed Peas, whose real name is William James Adams, did an exclusive interview with The Lantern, before his opening performance on the Oval, something which seems to be one of his highest honors.

“It means so much to be considered by the United States president,” will.i.am said. “It just makes me proud, speechless really.”

He also said being active in Obama’s campaign has further encouraged his own work around equipping children with a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skill set, i.am.angel program, which relieves students of college debt and mortgage relief program.

In traveling alongside Obama, who was making his fifth visit to campus in the past two years, will.i.am said the youth vote is important to him as well.

Using Apple computers as an example of that importance, he said “If it wasn’t for the youth – not just voting for that to be the most-valued brand in the world – Apple wouldn’t be Apple.

“America would be a little better if we had more youth involvement. America would be cool, a lot cooler if the youth paid more attention.”

Will.i.am also said he backs Obama’s “Yes We Can” concept and his support for Pell grants.

“I’m trying my hardest to continue what ‘Yes We Can’ means, being a part of the solution and not waiting. I stand behind the president as it relates to Pell grants, so kids can go to school regardless of if their families can afford it,” he said, adding again of his support for STEM.

And before leaving for the stage to entertain the crowd, which he referred to as the “Buckeye Peas,” will.i.am made one thing quite clear: It’s irrelevant what others think of his support for the president.

“That’s not important,” he said with a straight face.

“You can’t force every musician to get involved, so I’m involved, not as a musician, but as an American citizen,” he said. “Not every musician is supposed to do that. But if they choose to, that’s great. We need more.”

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