The Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am has responded to criticism following his group’s AFL Grand Final performance. The former The Voice Australia coach received the brunt of the hate after many accused him of checking his phone during the performance. Others tweeted their disappointment when Fergie did not appear while another portion of fans and members of the general public called out the artist for taking a picture with Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

The Black Eyed Peas were part of the pre-game entertainment during yesterday’s grand final and performed many of their iconic songs including ‘Where Is The Love?’ and ‘I Gotta Feeling’. 

Firstly, the 43-year-old addressed the fans who were miffed about Fergie not appearing in yesterday’s performance. Fergie officially exited the group last February and has since been replaced by Voice Of The Philippines finalist Jessica Reynoso. 

In a series of tweets Will.i.am wrote: “Look at it from this perspective…

“We started The Black Eyed Peas in 1995 and we met Fergie in 2002 and she joined our family in 2003…it’s hard for us to sit at home and not make music, when we know & remember our origins and love for music…love is life and life is #biglove

“We love Fergie… But if you were a true Black Eyed Peas fan. I mean true @BEP fan then you would know @bep’s history. You would know our mission & purpose…the world is divided & we are supposed to connect it…we are just trying to spread love in the world when hate is popular.”

Then, in response to the claims Will.i.am was checking his phone during the performance, the artist confirmed he was but only to Live Stream the act to the world on his Instagram.

This tweet was in direct response to words published by The Australian. 

In a follow-up tweet, Will.i.am wrote: “reporting before researching. Sad new world!!! I still have #BIGLOVE for Australia and the world. Fact is: being on the phone during a performance isn’t worse than what’s actually happening in the world. Especially when you’re singing #bigLOVE… pay attention to what’s important.”

As for the photo with Morrison…. this one:

The tweet itself copped a barrage of hate before users started tagging Will.i.am in their tweets.

One user wrote: “Did our hip PM tell you ’bout all the brown kids he keeps locked up in off shore detention @iamwill #whereisthelove” 

To which Will.i.am replied:

Image: AAP / JULIAN SMITH