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will.i.am: From LA’s eastside to global business icon

will.i.am: blazing a trail from music to tech mastery

by Oluwatosin Racheal Alabi

The Early Years: A Star in the Making

In Eastside Los Angeles, a star named William James Adams Jr., known globally as will.i.am, was born. Raised in the challenging Estrada Courts, he rose above adversity, graduating from Palisades Charter High School in 1991. Alongside his classmates, will.i.am formed Atban Klann, catching the attention of Eazy-E, a rap legend. This group soon evolved into the world-famous Black Eyed Peas by 1997.

Diverse Ventures: Beyond Music

Will.i.am didn’t just stick to music. Additionally, he ventured into acting, appearing in movies like “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” and “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.” He also dived into the tech and business worlds. He led Musicane, developed the Puls smartwatch, and promoted environmental care with the Ekocycle bicycle. His fashion endeavors include the i.am+ label, and in literature, he wrote “WaR: Wizards and Robots.” His work earned him seven Grammy Awards and a prestigious fellowship.

Entrepreneurial Success: Spotlight on Five Companies

Billionaires.Africa shines a light on five companies led by will.i.am:

  1. I AM+: Founded in 2012, this tech company in Los Angeles shows will.i.am’s forward-thinking approach to technology.
  2. Will.i.am Music Group: His own label, which continues to influence the music industry.
  3. Amuse: A Swedish record label and distributor co-founded with Diego Farias, expanding his reach internationally.
  4. i.am Angel Foundation: Established in 2009, this foundation focuses on changing lives through education and opportunity.
  5. IAMAUTO: Stepping into automotive design, will.i.am’s company partnered with Mercedes-AMG to unveil a unique concept car in 2022.

In 2021, will.i.am and Honeywell introduced the Xupermask, combining facial tech with audio features for a unique wearable experience.

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