"You want me to grind on will.i.am in a bathing suit?"
In the mid-1990s, The Black Eyed Pods were attempting to create a lane for themselves as an alternative hip hop group. Will.i.am, apl.de.ap, and Taboo were at a showcase in Los Angeles when they heard a young singer name Kim Hill who stopped them in their tracks. They approached Kim about joining their group, now named The Black Eyed Peas, as they wanted to add a female vocalist to their mix.
The quartet's popularity began to rise as they were selling out local shows and people were vying to purchase their music. The New York Times caught up with Kim for their Almost Famous series where she discussed her time with the supergroup and why, in the end, she decided to quit. Most people know Fergie as being the First Lady of The Black Eyed Peas, but Kim was one of the originators and was featured on one of their first hits, "Joints and Jams."
In her Almost Famous clip, Kim said during their inception, she never felt pressured to be anything other than her authentic self. However, after they would play shows, the fellas had to return to their rough neighborhoods full of violence and family members in need. When they switched up their management, expectations began to change as the group was asked to become more commercial and pop.
"It just started to get clumsy and messy," Kim recalled. "You want me to grind on will.i.am in a bathing suit? That was being asked of me. Never by the guys. That was happening from an executive level. How far out on this plank do you want me to go? The tug of war was about my sexuality and how much of that I was willing to literally strip down. I never wanted to be objectified while doing my music."
She told management that she wasn't going to do it, so she quit. While touring as a solo act, The Black Eyed Peas found her replacement and became one of the most popular acts in the world. "No one handed them anything," Kim said of her friends. "They worked their asses off. They deserve it." Watch the compelling, yet short, documentary below.