In 2003, the Black Eyed Peas collaborated with Justin Timberlake on the single “Where Is The Love?” after years of drafting portions of the song independently. The lead single from the group’s third studio album “Elephunk,” the song is a response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The release ultimately peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Top 100.
Over a decade later, the Black Eyed Peas released a second version of “Where Is The Love?” The song was revamped in 2016, this time addressing terrorist attacks happening worldwide, as well as the Syrian crisis, the ambush killings of police officers in Texas and the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. Additionally, the revamp also reunited the members of the Black Eyed Peas, mirroring the unity the song came to be known for.
Lead member will.i.am. said in an NPR interview that he and the rest of the band members felt as though the world needed this song to arise again, as there were crises springing up throughout society that needed to be addressed.
True to the original, Justin Timberlake contributed vocals. However, this time many others offered guest vocals, including Mary J. Blige, Nicole Scherzinger, Audra Day, Jessie J, The Game, A$AP Rocky and Usher. Although the arrangement and melody differ between versions, there are still some familiar aspects such as Justin Timberlake’s chorus during the song’s outro.
Similar to the original, the revamp release addresses a wide variety of worldly issues. From terrorism, racism, gang crime and pollution to war, intolerance and violence toward the LGBTQ community, the Black Eyed Peas cover a wide range of political topics. The group was ahead of their time, as it was uncommon for mainstream artists to shed light on world issues in their music.
Musically, “Where Is The Love?” is an upbeat anthem reflective of the group’s hope and optimism for the future. More specifically, the song shows us that the world needs to look forward toward our future with hope in mind, and that to reach a peaceful state we need to both trust and enforce systemic change.
The accompanying music video for the 2016 “Where Is The Love?” is a masterpiece in itself. Aside from the band members from the Black Eyed Peas, a host of celebrities make cameos, such as DJ Khaled, Quincy Jones, Snoop Dogg, Randy Jackson, Jamie Foxx, Vanessa Hudgens and Wiz Khalifa, among others.
Proceeds from the release of the 2016 “Where Is The Love?” go towards the i.am.angel Foundation. The i.am.angel Foundation is a nonprofit founded by will.i.am which works to improve the lives of people around the world through education, inspiration and opportunity.