Will.i.am On Lawsuit Drama: ‘I Want To Protect The Things I Do To Help Kids’


Will.i.am is a man of many talents. The Black Eyed Peas frontman, who has not only tackled on heavy-duty pop projects, like Britney Spears’ upcoming album, and launched numerous foundations, is also releasing a sci-fi graphic novel called Wizards & Robots alongside futurist Brian David Johnson. Still, there’s another N.E.R.D. jocking Will’s spotlight.

Backtrack to this past summer when the ahead-of-the-trend beatsmith issued a cease and desist letter to Pharrell Williams for using the “i am” phrase in the name of his new YouTube channel “i am Other.” Skateboard P then tossed Will a lawsuit, laced with Dr. Seuss-isms, stating that both artists were using the term in different ways. The B.E.P. music man then struck back with his own suit to protect his various foundations tied to helping inner-city youth.

Just two days before TMZ reported that Pharrell wanted Will’s lawsuit thrown out, the Grammy-winning producer confirmed that he had taken legal action.

“Actually, no, Pharrell had a suit against me,” Will.i.am told VIBE when asked if he sued Pharrell.

VIBE: So there was no countersuit?
Will.i.am: Yeah, after Pharrell sued me. I tweeted that ‘I’m not suing you, I never intended on it’ and then he sued me.

While Will.i.am kept a tight lip about the proceedings, he eventually returned to the suit after naming a list of his properties focused on encouraging the youth to pursue their passions in science, technology and the arts.

“I’m here, launching Wizards & Robots, a property that me and Brian David Johnson worked on, really proud of, self-funded, and came here to show all of our work, inspire kids in inner cities to try to take science seriously to where they want to bring things to society and technology,” he said.

“One is through fantasy and dreaming up cool concepts that might inspire them to want to go that direction, similar to what i.am.angel does, a foundation that sends kids to school debt-free and then i.am.home that bails out families from losing their homes.

He continued, “i.am.first [is] where I partnered with Dean Kamen to teach kids robotics from ages 9 to 18. Then I have this program called i.am.STEAM that transforms a collection of all those things, so if there was any lawsuit or any protection, it was to protect the things I do to help kids.” —Adelle Platon (@adelleplaton)

Video shot and edited by: Jason Chandler