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Black Eyed Peas Raise $4 Million in NYC Fundraising Concert

Black Eyed Peas
Dave Hogan/Getty Images

Despite the pouring rain, a crowd of 60,000 came out for the free Central Park concert.

“Lightning didn’t strike twice!” Fergie yelled to a cheering crowd of 60,000 Friday night gathered in NYC’s Central Park.

The singer was referring to the Black Eyed Peas concert that was cancelled at the last minute this summer due to impending bad weather. That crowd may have left disappointed, but they returned in good spirits and with even greater numbers Friday.

The free outdoor show was held on the Great Lawn, creating a beautiful scene with a light show on the park’s trees against the big skyscrapers in the center of Manhattan. 

The group partnered with Chase Bank and the Robin Hood Foundation in an effort to help end poverty in NYC. 

“Robin Hood’s mission is simple,” said David Saltzman, executive director of Robin Hood. “Fight poverty in NYC. This is the toughest economic time in the 23-year history of our organization.”

But by night’s end, frontman will.i.am made an announcement that proved the generosity of the group’s fans wasn’t hindered by the poor economy. Fundraisers pledged money through text messages, and a total of $4 million was donated by the end of the night.

After the group performed several of their hits, will.i.am took to the DJ booth in a silver suit and spun remixes of “Sweet Dreams” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – to which fans responded by singing along, dancing, and throwing thousands of Robin Hood green glow sticks into the air.

Then—as if mother nature was making an attempt to rain on their parade—the raindrops began to fall. A few in the crowd took their cue to leave the park, while others opened up their umbrellas or put on ponchos—while others still fully embraced the change in weather, dancing and splashing in puddles.

Will.i.am began chanting, “Ain’t nothing wrong with a little bit of rain,” and the crowd listened as he told them the story behind how, together, they had raised $4 million for the Robin Hood foundation. “Philanthropy is the fabric of the Black Eyed Peas,” he said. 

It was an appropriate introduction to the group’s peace-rallying song, “Where is the Love?”, which reached the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100. The rain started coming down even harder, but yet, there was something kind of beautiful about a crowd of 60,000 New Yorkers staying put to sing along to “Where is the Love?” in the pouring rain.