will.i.am mentions FIRST backstage at Jay Leno

After talking about his recent trip to the Curiosity launch, will.i.am mentions FIRST:


Check it out!

That’s so cool!
Did you notice how he got serious when he was talking about FIRST?
He seems really passionate about FIRST, which is AWESOME!

FIRST & will.i.am. what a great combo. its amazing how much will.i.am. supports us and science!

I was really pleased to see that. It’s true - at the start of his interview, I wasn’t sure whether he was half-drunk or whatnot, but as soon as his technological presence was brought up, you could see a passion in him. I couldn’t tell whether he was serious about FIRST at Kickoff 2011, but I think that at this point, he’s here to stay.

When I was first introduced to will.i.am, I was sure he was just doing it for PR. Now, a year later, I think he might actually be sincere. He still has to make up for the ‘it’s dope’ comment last year. I’m hoping for him to surprise me at kickoff.

I think we need to let go of the “it’s dope” thing. Think about it like this instead. If you were one of the world’s biggest pop stars, and then suddenly after a few phone calls you were on a jet to a televised event you knew next to nothing about, how would you respond? I know Will is no stranger to audiences and cameras, but just think about how hard it would be to formulate an opinion about something you were just being introduced to, and then trying to articulate an educated response into a microphone for thousands to hear. It’s not as easy as it seems, but Will has really taken hold of the ideals of FIRST, and a year later he’s more or less our pitch man, like the Billy Mays of tech! It’s almost unbelievable to think that this time last year all he could come up with was “it’s dope”, considering the way he talks so easily about FIRST now.

All I can say is, I think he’s here to stay, and it’s apparent he’s genuinely personally interested in bringing STEM to the forefront, and helping out the FIRST community. Remember, he’s not gaining anything from this but the gratification of supporting the organization.

Not really relating to the topic, but he did mention “third world” nation… The third world just refers to the neutral nations during the Cold war. First world is what you attribute to the “Capitalistic” nations, America’s allies during the Cold War. Second World refers to the Communist nations like Soviet Union and China. Third world is not analogous to poverty.

I have to agree: This guy is SERIOUS about supporting STEM education. And he got it right: He doesn’t have to throw money at it, he just has to shine a light on it, and people will notice. He has, and they are starting to.

I think he was talking about apl.de.ap, who is Filipino-American, and in The Black Eyed Peas.

He gave us a free concert, and more PR than most and you still think he has to make up for two words he said 12 months ago? Petty grudge much?

Thanks for the words Will!

I don’t think I can overstate just how important will.i.am’s efforts are in terms of “shining a spotlight” on our community.

FIRST was based on creating science and technology heroes that would inspire our young people. Every time he does something like this, it raises awareness of our program, breaks down society’s stigma placed on “geniuses,” and bring us that much closer to being able to create mainstream STEM heroes.

will.i.am is a mainstream celebrity who genuinely and unabashedly thinks what we do is wicked cool. And because will.i.am thinks FIRST is cool, thousands, if not millions more feel that much more comfortable saying that FIRST is awesome with a straight face.

Believe me, when I tell people that “I build competitive robots” the reaction is now more “Oh yeah! That’s cool! I know about that” as opposed to “:rolleyes:”

Culture change and directing the spotlight are easily just as important, if not more important that the robots we build…

…but having said that…

As the spotlight is directed towards us, it’s up to us to build something worth looking at!

I know it’s been said, but I just wanted to chime in with, wow Will, thanks.

You know they way he talked about it, just blew me away. I swore I could have almost been watching a Dean pitch. He get’s it, he loves it, and I have to say now, out of all the celeberties we could have had helping us out, Will is truly a perfect fit.

This completely makes sense, but I have to say at Kickoff last year I was completely dumbfounded… See I was at Dean’s house the night before when we first found out about Will.i.am and he came out and gave an INCREDIBLY eloquent speech, in fact it was more eloquent than I’ve seen him at any event since! Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly grateful for Will.i.am’s support, I think having him help us with the spotlight is great for the program! But I was just amazing that my first impression (his speech at Dean’s) was so drastically different from many of the following. I am guessing his speech for Dean’s was prewritten, though if so, it was very well delivered and not read of a sheet of paper (he might have had notes, I dont recall), but I think coming from a very highly educated and highly critical population like FIRST, I think we all want to expect as much from him as we do from Dave Lavery, when in reality, they are two different aspects that are very important in tying together the bigger picture of getting the word out there. We need the intelligence and forethought from Dean, the eloquence from Dave, Woodie, Blair, etc… the history buffs like Karthik, the organizers like Mikell and Kathy, the leaders like Raul, Paul, JVN… to make this program run, but then we need people like Will.i.am and the celebrities he has rounded up to really really make this mainstream. Will.i.am sometimes comes across as reserved (perhaps what others label other things), but I think sometimes its because he is crafting thought. He’s sort of the anti-Dean… we all know everything Dean is thinking in great detail, we have to sort of decipher what Will.i.am says :slight_smile: In the end, he is trying to do great things for FIRST, and for that I am thankful!

Interesting comments about hooking up with Dave

Was he wearing the hat Dean Kamen gave him? :]

Anyway, awesome!

Will.I.am has produced great publicity for first, not only through the i.am.first show and his talking about it backstage of the Jay Leno show, but remember the superbowl. His uniform flashed the FIRST logo, in front of millions of people. I can forgive him for saying “its dope” last year, because he has done so much for us!

All I can say is:


Quoted for truth