In the environment I grew up in, R’n’B music were considered as the go to music and I easily learned to listen to them on a daily basis. Black Eyed Peas were by far one of the few bands I easily took a liking of. English not being my native language, looking back at their older songs gave me a much better understanding of the underlying meaning of the songs these artists were trying to convey. Sure, the beat and each notes produced created an amazing single but while listening to “Where is The Love?” by BEP, my mind opened up to the social issues our world is facing from the loss of sense of humanity within our society to the disasters created by racism and inequality.
BEP is a Hip Hop and R’n’B group consisting of three singers, Fergie, Will.i.am, Taboo, and Apl.de.ap. As a kid, it has always struck out to me how Fergie was the only “white” singer of the group while the rest of the boys all had a darker skin color. While this is an innocent observation made by a child, today I would not pay too much attention to it as we as a society became a bit more adapted to diversity.
People killin’, people dyin’
Children hurt and you hear them cryin’
Can you practice what you preach?
In the first two lines, the singers addresses the wrongdoings of people then the controversy of what people say and what they actually do. People talk about racism. Everyone is aware of its manifestation and development. Anyone who does not is either in pure denial or solely blind. But do we act upon it? Bringing awareness is a start. In essence, “Where is The Love” is an earlier form of protest made by the group.
Yo’, whatever happened to the values of humanity
Whatever happened to the fairness and equality
In these two lines, Apl.de.ap addresses the evident issues of inequality that our society ignores. To keep in mind that this song came out in 2009, it’s still baffling that the majority of the events in the lyrics are only developing by the minute. The activist movement “Black Lives Matter” was originated by the African American community which campaigns against violence towards black people. As many people tend to disagree with the saying because “All Lives Matter”, that is not entirely wrong but its main purpose is to alert people of the discrimination black people are facing financially, educationally, socially and in many other factors. More than a 100 black people were killed by police officer in the year 2015 where 1 out of 3 of them were identified unarmed. That is nearly twice each week. Not only were those people brutally killed but more often than not, they were not given proper justice as the police officers were able to get away from facing penalties and time in jail.
Wrong information always shown by the media
Negative images is the main criteria
Instead of spreading love we’re spreading animosity
Lack of understanding, leading us away from unity
In other words: “The media brainwashes the public which leads to misunderstanding resulting in conflicts and inequality.”
While watching the music video of this powerful song, two things that I notice were the abundance of minorities in it and the anger and fear seen in the people’s eyes as they appear. The majority of minorities in this music video can pose a question, especially in the year it was released. Whites in the media is very common and is considered as the norm. Even a character that belongs to a minorities group is usually played by a white actor in a movie. The purpose of this song was simply to open up the eyes of the people of the unnecessary hatred being spread and the wrongs done by mankind for something as small as degrading another based on their skin tone. In 2:13 – 2:33 of the music video, they show a series of individuals from the minorities group singing along to the song and shortly after, a man holding a book with the question mark (symbolizing “Where is The Love?” throughout the song) and yelling to a God above for saving as the lyrics playing are as follows:
Father, Father, Father, help us
Send some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’
Where is the love?
And it is alarming to think that as we move forward in the years, we slowly begin questioning “Where is The Love?”