Black Eyed Peas' inspires Waipahu students
Goldawn Won
Goldawn Won

By Leland Kim - bio | email

WAIPAHU (KHNL)  -  The Black Eyed Peas' sold out concert at the 2009 Bay Fest at Marine Corps Base Hawaii isn't until Saturday night, but some students got a special sneak peek of the concert Friday afternoon.  The hip-hop group's visited Waipahu High School to send a strong message to students.

apl is half Filipino and half African American.  He and his six younger siblings were raised by a single mom in the Philippines, after his father left the family.  He wanted to reach out to kids in Waipahu, and let them know they can achieve their dreams.

Waipahu High School's marching band and cheerleaders got the crowd going Friday afternoon.  The students there definitely have school spirit!

"Waipahu!!!!" yelled the Waipahu cheerleading team.

They're here for their first assembly of the school year.

"Excited, happy," said Shavelle Santos, a Waipahu High School cheerleader. "I don't know."

They have no idea what they're in for.  Former University of Hawaii and professional football player Darrick Branch hosted the event, and Goldawn Won, an up and coming Korean Filipino rapper from Maui got the crowd going.

But that was just a preview.

The main attraction was from the Black Eyed Peas.  The Grammy-winning quartet sold more than 18 million albums worldwide.

"I almost fainted," said Mele Tautuiaki, a senior at Waipahu High School.  "I was like, 'Oh my gosh!  I can't believe they're here!"

apl rocked out, and got the crowd going, singing songs from his upcoming solo album.  He also talked about staying positive, working hard, and following your dreams.

"I was adopted from the Philippines and I was given an opportunity to pursue my dreams," said the 34-year-old hip-hop artist.  "And I just want to encourage you guys to stay in school."

"What you saw in there was Nelson Mandela talking to Africa right there," said Goldawn Won.  "You know what I mean?"

The assembly was part of In School Jam, a program designed to educate and empower Hawaii's youth.    And from the reaction, it appears to be the most empowering one so far.

"You want to be up there when you grow up la dat," said Gerald Fiesta, a Waipahu sophomore. "You want to be like him one day."

That's the message apl is sending: that someone who looks like him can succeed in America if they work hard and stay away from drugs and alcohol.

"He inspired me, man," said Goldawn Won.  "I never thought I'd see a Filipino hip-hop artist. That should inspire all of Hawaii."

"It inspires us to go for our dream and no matter what nobody says," said Tautuiaki.  "Just reach for our dream."

apl is looking for new talent.  So he's asking people to drop off their demos at the "Offical Black Eyed Peas" party Friday night from 7 to 9 at the Lotus inside the Diamond Head Hotel.  The Black Eyed Peas will hit the stage Saturday night at Bay Fest.