You've likely heard of rapper will.i.am and his highly successful hip-hop group "The Black Eyed Peas," but did you also know that he's a passionate proponent of science and technology education? Or that he's recently been named the director of Intel's creative innovation program?
OK, so the Intel gig is more of an outreach marketing move vs. anything involving will.i.am in a lab coat, but it doesn't make the 36-year-old's interest in the field any less genuine. When it comes to the future of the country (remember, this is the same guy who made that viral groundbreaking "Yes We Can" video during Obama's 2008 campaign), he's fully vested in making a difference for the younger generation interested in pursuing careers in science and technology.
"These kids are our Michael Jordans and Kobe Bryants and our team is losing right now," he wrote earlier this month on The Huffington Post. "If we don't acknowledge them and support them, they might not want to play for our American team when they graduate from college. They probably won't create jobs in America with the technology they invent."
On Aug. 14, will.i.am will debut a television special he funded with his own cash highlighting kids participating in the 20th Annual F.I.R.S.T. (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition. He was inspired to document the live event after meeting with its founder, inventor Dean Kamen.
"If this little 13-year-old is building robots and writing code, I can at least go and buy some time on ABC to make a TV show out of it," he told NPR's Marketplace.
Called "i.AM FIRST: Science is Rock & Roll," the special will also feature performances by The Black Eyed Peas, as well as appearances by Justin Bieber, Bono and Justin Timberlake.
"We should be supporting our geniuses ... these are the leaders of the world in the next 10 years." will.i.am told CBS News. "You can't sit and wait for (people) to do things that you know should be done."
"I Am First: Science is Rock 'n Roll" airs Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. EST on ABC. Check out video of the musician explaining his love of science and technology below.
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