I gotta feeling that tonight’s going to be a good night for Mr will.i.am, as he celebrates his 43rd birthday. Born on March 15, 1975 in Eastside Los Angeles, the accomplished entertainer is an important name in popular culture given his work in music, philanthropy and creative innovation.
A role model to the younger generation, the star launched the i.am.angel foundation in 2009 to ‘TRANS4M lives through education, inspiration and opportunity’ with a particular emphasis on low income communities such as Boyle Heights, the neighbourhood in which he grew up in. In 2012, he donated £500,000 to The Prince’s Trust in support of the UK’s disadvantaged youths, and later launched an initiative with The Science Museum in encouragement of STEM education for children.
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, something Will has been a devoted advocate of and it was just recently that the star was awarded an honorary fellowship from The IET for his ‘outstanding contribution’ to his work in engineering. There’s so much more to him than meets the eye and we could go on about his achievements, but we wanted to hear from the ones that he’s influenced the most – his fans.
It’s not every day an artist makes a connection as deep with their fans as he has, and in this feature, some of his supporters tell us what they love about him, whilst recalling their dopest moments.
Dennis, 24, Germany
I like his entrepreneurial spirit. He keeps pushing the boundaries (like with MOTS) and doesn’t accept No as an answer. He ignored the doubters (look at i.am+) and keeps pursuing his dreams and visions, no matter what they say. I like how he sees the big picture, so for example his efforts in robotics and computer science, it all links with his effort in business. He is also very down to earth, very open minded about meeting people.
Daaf, 24, Netherlands
Will has taught me to break out of my comfort zone and also to dream big. Because of Will, I feel the strength to be a fashion misfit and just have fun with it. Next to all of this, Will and the Peas just inspired me and still inspire me for all these years with their culture crossing, subject using and genre defying sense of music and fashion.
Phelipe, 25, Brazil
I have always loved technology and discovered in will.i.am an inspiration. Today I study Electrical Engineering in one of the best colleges in my country and following the same line of thought as will.i.am about the future, I plan to create clean energy alternatives integrated with artificial intelligence. Will.i.am is my idol in music and career. Happy birthday, Will!
Clare, 49. United Kingdom
Wishing Will a very happy birthday! Thanking him for all his amazing contributions to our world’s communities, within the arts and entertainment, raising awareness of ‘stem’ and the needs of education, championing the youth of today and working towards finding solutions for fairer changes to social justice systems and crime prevention. He is a true role model, inspiring so many to keep believing in a better society for all. Through him, I have made so many new friends who share his amazing attitude, humour and kindness.
Iaku, 26, Argentina
I love his commitment and determination. I love his sensibility and humanity.
Patricia, 24, England
When you’re 11, it’s all about the popular songs he releases. When you’re 15, you realise his style is cool and he does more than music. When you’re 18, you start seeing behind the scenes, and find the human behind the show. And so on… At least this is what (very) briefly describes my last 13 years as a follower of will.i.am. My main reason to be a fan of him: His determination to make a difference leaves you with the feeling that you are capable of anything. And so do his achievements in the last 20 years, right? He doesn’t only talk about it on TV, he also makes it happen. But also makes people laugh every Saturday. He does good.
My favourite moment of his is very difficult to choose, as he received all different types of awards, achieved all kind of goals. So I’ve chosen one that is very recent and related to his health. Hats off to a lifestyle change with a busy life like his.
My favourite moments are when I go to see him perform with my close friends from all over the world. Every time he performs he brings us together. It’s an incredible and indescribable feeling to experience his concerts surrounded with my “family”.
I have many favorite Will moments, but an unforgettable moment for me was when he held and waved the flag of my country in the opening ceremony of the World Cup 2010.