Will.i.am Defends MTV Blackface Performance 'It's not a racial thing,' he tweets By Mary Papenfuss, Newser User Posted Sep 14, 2010 5:11 AM CDT 13 comments Comments Will.i.am. of the Black-Eyed Peas performs earlier this year in New York. (AP Photo/Rick Maiman) (Newser) – Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am blasted critics who skewered his blackface performance before the MTV Music Video Awards presentation. "It shouldn't be looked at as racial," he tweeted, explaining that he painted his face black "as expression and to emphasize my outfit." To those who complained that his appearance was reminiscent of derogatory minstrel shows, he responded: "Let go of the past. There are far more important things 2 bark about (jobs, health, education), not a black man wearing all black everything." As criticisms continued to flood his Twitter account, he fired back: "Are you guys serious? My outfit set 'black people back 100 years'? No education sets people back, no jobs, bad health."