Podcast Transcript:

This week we’re going to be talking about a newly released remake by the black eyed peas of their 2003 hit, “Where is the love”. This remake features other musicians, including Justin Timberlake, Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, Usher,  and Fergie. A lot has changed since 2003: At the time, Beyonce was still in Destiny’s Child, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were Hollywood’s star couple, and we were just three years shy from Taylor Swift gracing the world with her vocals. One thing that has unfortunately not changed is the terror and political unrest that exists on a global scale.

The song combined heartfelt rap verses with a catchy chorus and ultimately resulted in giving The Black Eyed Peas international recognition. By 2003,  the repercussions of the September 11 attacks in New York were unfolding on a monumental scale; millions had turned to protest the war in Iraq in February; within week, the country had been invaded, sparking a conflict that we would see last for eight years. In the following year, it became a vessel for The Black Eyed Peas to channel what the Willi.I.Am  calls, “The stress, the anxiety and the pain of 9/11.”

“I just did the rhythm over the chord progression, because I was like, “This needs to have a heartbeat…I just liked the pull and the call of response of the human heart- a beat, a rhythm that we hear everyday subconsciously, without paying attention to it.”

The Black Eyed Peas explain that they decided to remake “Where is the Love?” in 2016 when the media was highlighting the depravity of the world; including the conflict in Syria, the Paris terrorist attacks, the Brussels bombing, and the Orlando shooting: Here is a short clip of The Black Eyed Peas on the Today Show where they explain their song and video remake for “Where is the love.”

Each of us is aware of all of the negativity in the world, and I am so impressed by the efforts of musicians to try to bring about a positive change with their fame. What better way to use your platform am I right? Will.I.Am found a way to turn negativity into something positive that we could see in the headlines; and used his celebrity platforms to draw attention to the song and social issues. The remake tackles issues like hate crimes, police brutality, racial discrimination(including refugee and immigration issues), and gender and religious beliefs across the world that we will go into today during this week’s podcast:

Let’s jump right in and get started! I want to start this with discussing millennials. Since we were young, our generation has been taught the best way to solve societal problems is to act upon them. I came upon a chapter titled  “Changing the World” written by Morley Winograd, author of the book, “Millennial Momentum” and it explains how over the years millennials have embraced individual action and initiative associated with community responses. Millennials are the future leaders of the world and can make a difference and cause change. If there is anything that we need in this world, it is change. Millennials are very much concerned about the world around them–even more than older Americans. Young Millennials have embraced individual initiative linked to community action. In 2009, over 13 million American teenagers volunteered an average of 3 hours per week, providing over two billion hours of service (page 226).  Later that year, we also saw applications to the Peace Corps jump 40%. I want to read to you listeners out there an important quote from this book,

Alyssa reads: “We are a generation yearning to always be connected in a way that was incomprehensible to those who came before us, but we are also working harder than ever before to break down barriers.”    

An important concept from the song “Where Is The Love” discusses the idea of breaking down barriers and to just love one another.

In “The Year of the Affected Generation” Nicole Javorsky an editor at CityLab, presents data on the inordinate impact of gun violence on young people. Just last February, a gunman killed 17 students and staff and injured another 17 at Parkland High School  in Florida. This became just one of what would become a grim chain of mass shootings at schools in 2018. The young survivors of this shooting did not disappear once the news moved on, instead they got together and organized an activist group who took to social media and organized the March for Our Lives in Washington D.C. in March.  The article further discusses the prevalence of young people as perpetrators of such violence and how young adolescents are starting to voice their frustrations about the world they are living in. In The Black Eyed Peas song, they bring to light some recent gun violence that has affected our country.

Overseas, yeah, they trying to stop terrorism

(Where’s the love)

Over here on the streets, the police shoot

The people put the bullets in ’em

(Where’s the love)

But if you only got love for your own race

(Where’s the love)

Then you’re gonna leave space for others to discriminate

(Where’s the love)

Amid the chilling regularity of mass shootings in the U.S., young Americans are fed up with gun violence and are ready to do something about it. According to MarketWatch, the vast majority of people ages 18 to 35 in the U.S. believe the country has a major problem with mass shootings, according to a survey released last year of 1,155 people. About 78% of millennials believe it is too easy to purchase a gun  and 59% believe that gun violence would decrease if gun regulations were strengthened.


The Black Eyed peas are part of pop culture and are popular among millennials. In today’s world, millennials voices are so crucial. Young Americans today suffer immensely from gun violence and in order to put an end to this we must find a common ground. Music is something we have in common and can be used to bring people together to send a message.

In a recent article titled, “Popular Music Helps Students Focus on Important Social Issues,” James Moore focuses on the challenges on how to get young teens involved and interested in social issues. One of the biggest challengers for these educators is creating powerful lessons that engage young adolescents in acquiring this knowledge about social issues and pushing them to want to get involved. This is the mindset that Will.I.Am had when recreating his hit song, “Where is the love.” One of the most effective and enjoyable ways to teach about history and social events is to integrate lessons with music. By creating more songs like “where is the love” artists can use their platform and encourage young students and people to act upon change. I think by starting this lesson at a young age, our future leaders of our country and world will be able to minimize the hate we see everyday in today’s scary world.

Though  “Where is the love” came out in 2003 and then 2016, in 2019 and there is so much more room for more protest songs like this one. I came across an article titled, “Protest music helped save 20th-century America. But are today’s pop artists up to the task?” which discusses my very own question. The article discusses how during the second half of the 20th century, popular music and social justice went hand in hand, something we have discussed and seen in our class. I want to read you listeners out there this quote, “these sublime, vital songs emerged as anthems for protestors fighting institutional racism, insidious income inequality, and immoral wars.” This is an opportunity for more popular artists to write progressive rallying cries, lead by example, use their huge platform, and remind listeners of their music that great art can infuse our generation with a fresh sense of purpose. Black Eyed Peas are leading by example but it is time for more artists to jump on the bandwagon.

Over the last two decades, our country has been experiencing a hate crime epidemic. According to The United States Department of Justice “Hate crimes affect families, communities, and sometimes the entire nation.” Data collected from 2017 was submitted by 16,149 law enforcement agencies which provided information about the offenses, victims, offenders, and locations of hate crimes. 2,040 agencies reported 7,175 hate crime incidents involving 8,437 offenses. As the song, “Where is the love” mentions;

And to discriminate only generates hate

And when you hate, then you’re bound to get irate

Madness is what you demonstrate

And that’s exactly how hate works and operates

Man, we gotta set it straight

Take control of your mind, just meditate

And let your soul just gravitate to the love

So the whole world celebrate it

It is so critical that we come up with ways to put an end to this hate. Will.I.Am explains how every time he looked up at the news there was severe hate and not enough love which is why he wanted to get all of his friends together and re-imagine what they had done after 9/11 with “Where is the love?”  

Congress and the majority of states have enacted laws increasing the punishment and consequences for crimes motivated by disfavored prejudices. Sometimes the word is not always used properly. Here is a quote from an article titled, “Hate Crimes: A Critical Perspective” that states what a hate crime is.

Alyssa reads:  “This term references criminal behavior motivated, not just by hate but by prejudice. A “hate crime” is meant to distinguish criminal conduct galvanized by prejudices from criminal activity motivated by lust, jealousy, greed, politics, etc.”

The issues we see on the news and hear about on the radio all have to do with hate crimes. The Paris terrorist attacks, the Brussels bombing, and the Orlando shooting are all hate crimes that killed hundreds of people and were a result of their religion, sexuality, and beliefs.

As mentioned at the start of our discussion, The Black Eyed Peas re-released their debut smash hit “Where is the love?” this time making it a bit different. They have changed the lyrics to reflect current situations, hoping to bring attention to the terrible gun violence that has plagued the US recently. Forbes published an article about the new release sharing that the group will be donating all proceeds raised from the sale of the new version to Will.I.Am’s “i.am.angel” Foundation.

This is part of the platform that more artists should be using. Here is a little bit about the foundation:

Alyssa reads:The i.am.angel Foundation was created by Will.I.Am to help students in his hometown of East Los Angeles better their skills in areas where their failings schools may not be reaching them. The foundation assists in the creation of after-school tutoring, STEM education projects, and robotics clubs, all of which are aimed at giving kids the skills they may need to excel later in life. “

Forbes further explains in order to hit the point of recreating “Where Is The Love?” home, The Black Eyed Peas partnered with Esri, a geospatial mapping company that gathered data to see where the funds raised could do the most good. The group’s frontman asked those at Esri to identify half a dozen cities where shootings have taken place to compare the amount of money spent in those communities on both educating a student, as well as how much is spent on keeping someone in prison. In all six markets analyzed, more government money was used on those in jail than those attending public schools. Now that these communities have been identified, the money raised from this “new” single will most likely end up there, where it is desperately needed.

The Black Eyed Peas saw the relevance of this song and decided it was time to revive the song for a new generation experiencing new horrors.  All of these issues are occuring in the world at once and this type of music helps people recognize they are not alone in feeling sad and wanting to spark change.

We are all human. We all eat, sleep, and breathe just like everyone else around us. When we are young we are taught that love and respect is the key to developing relationships with others and it will go a long way. Every day the world is more and more scary and cruel and innocent lives are being taken away a such young ages. Each day passes and we wish that there is more we can do to help one another. In no way shape or form am I suggesting a such utopian society where everything is nice and perfect, but everyone is a work in progress including myself. In order to fix everyone and the world around us we need love and unity to take a stand on what is going on. How do we manifest that love? How do we focus our efforts to ensure that love and kindness are at the center of our policies? We need to create policies that emphasize equality, fairness, friendship and support, and a loving behavior. We need to restructure our society to value these characteristics over individualistic ones. If you have a comment or an idea on how to create these solutions, please reach out to me so we can begin spreading love and see less hate everyday.