Will.i.am is convinced the music industry needs a massive culture overhaul to become a more equitable environment for women.
The hip hop star called out sexism among his peers while promoting his new Masters of the Sun virtual reality experience with his Black Eyed Peas bandmates Taboo and apl.de.ap at the Sundance Film Festival.
“Music is probably… it does a really good job at diminishing the power of a woman,” he told Variety. “And that’s really sad. Especially hip-hop, rock — sex, drugs, and rock and roll. A woman is a resource in that sentence. It’s sad.”
Will.i.am believes vintage music paid greater tributes to women, noting The Isley Brother’s classic 1973 song That Lady was penned as a “gentle admiration of a woman.”
“If that song had to come out today, it’d be like, ‘Who that b**ch?’” he joked.
Will.i.am is a huge supporter of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements that call for an end to sexual misconduct against women, and as protesters take the streets in several cities across America to walk in the Women’s March in support of equal rights on Saturday (20Jan18), the 42-year-old insists these campaigns “should have happened a long time ago.”
“A man doesn’t have the power to empower a woman,” he explained. “All a man can do is acknowledge the power of a woman. I don’t have the power to give a woman, when a woman gave power to me. So our society is all effed up.”
Will.i.am is willing to demonstrate his support for equal rights by pledging to vote for a powerful woman who is a favourite to run for the U.S. presidency in 2020 – Oprah Winfrey.
“No, I wouldn’t vote for Oprah,” he joked before remarking, “Of course I would! What are you talking about?”