Will.I.Am has made it his mission to inspire the next generation of inner city youths with science and technology.
Will.I.Am who is the founding shareholder in Beats Electronics, the maker of of Beats by Dre. headphones, recently formed i.am+; a consumer-electronic company that is trying to create a wearable device.
The Grammy-award winning artist says the company and his charitable foundation want inner city youths to pursue careers in science and technology rather than music.
Talking at SkyBridge Capital’s SALT Conference in Las Vegas earlier this month, Will.I.Am said: “There is no one they can look up to that resembles their lifestyle. I love Michael Dell and I love Steve Jobs, but these kids still dream of being Michael Jordan. They still dream of being LeBron James.”
Pointing out that children dream of becoming the next Black Eyed Peas, he gave a message to them, saying: “Our business isn’t the business.”
The Feelin’ Myself hitmaker expressed his resentment with the public education system in inner cities. He said schools focused a great deal on physical education and team sports rather than science and technology.
“My sister isn’t going to be a freaking NBA superstar,” will.i.am said.
Will.I.Am who grew up in housing projects in the Boyle Heights neighbourhood of East Los Angeles, said: “I’m on a mission to change ghettos that resemble the ghetto I was brought up in. No money is being spent in these inner cities on education. America is in a really funky place if we aren’t educating our cities. Inner cities in 20 years could turn into slums.”
Last month Will.I.Am announced plans to help fund a STEM program for high school students in Ferguson, Missouri.
Will.I.Am is determined to serve the next generation of tech entrepreneurs as a role model for inner city youths.
“My mission is to build the Puls alongside the philanthropy to continue to sustain and scale our work and inspire these kids to dream down this STEM street,” he said.