American rapper, singer, songwriter, and big-time tech enthusiast will.i.am has built a music career and multiple businesses, but might be most well-known by those with no interest in his music for being a judge on The Voice. Though there are blind auditions on The Voice, is will.i.am literally blind?
William Adams, mostly known by the name will.i.am, is not blind. Adams himself may not be blind, but when he was in Black Eyed Peas, he shared the stage with Allan Pineda Lindo, who was legally blind.
Adams and Lindo share similar monikers, will.i.am and apl.de.ap respectively, so if you weren’t too familiar with their work and who they are but were sure one of them was blind, then this may have been the mix-up.
The closest that Adams has come to blindness is when he judges on the talent show The Voice.
As we just mentioned, Adams’ friend (and fellow artist) in Black Eyed Peas was actually at one time deemed to be “legally blind.” The difference between true blindness and the condition that Lindo suffered from was how it affected his vision.
Lindo’s condition was called “nystagmus,” also called “dancing eyes” for the visual effect of the eyes flicking back and forth rapidly. It doesn’t necessarily cause severe issues with sight, but can have enough of an effect to cause the sufferer to be declared “legally blind.”
This was what happened to Lindo, who had been seeking treatment for the condition since he was the age of 14. Thanks to advancements in our understanding of these issues, however, Lindo was finally able to get the treatment he needed in 2012.
In a cutting-edge surgical procedure, Lindo went from barely being able to make out any details in people’s faces, to be able to see them at a distance. Though not perfect by any means, the difference between the two states was well worth the relatively painless procedure that he had to undergo.
No Vision Needed
As for will.i.am, the show that he has made his home for years has been the UK version of The Voice. Thankfully, the contestants on the show aren’t making any appeal to first-impressions based on their appearance, as it features blind auditions.
In the show’s format, the aspiring singers and musicians are greeted by the backs of the judges’ chairs in addition to the enormous attending audience. At some time during the performance, the judges (of which will.i.am is one) will carefully consider whether or not to turn their chair.
When they aren’t being distracted, at least.
You can see plenty of will.i.am’s best moments on the show on Youtube during those blind auditions, as he’s stunned and awed by the caliber of talent that the show has managed to attract over the years.
This is only one space that will.i.am occupies, however. Aside from any of his musical endeavors, be they The Voice or his personal projects, he’s also an entrepreneur and avid fan of new technology.
It’s good fortune that he doesn’t have any issues with his vision, as he’s incredibly deep into that world of technology and engineering. So much so that he has actually received an Honorary Fellowship from the Institution of Engineering and Technology.
With this deep fascination for emerging technologies, maybe it won’t be long before he turns his attention to the visually impaired!
As for now though, he’s been involved in multiple projects that have spanned industries from luxury products all the way to the development of AI for said products. The item in question there was a hybrid between a watch, a phone, and an AI.
If you look at the power of his celebrity, the multiple new startup businesses that he has been instrumental in driving to success, and the music career that he has had, it’s safe to say that will.i.am far from blind; in any sense of the word.
Some might accuse him of almost being a little too much of a visionary with some aspects of his life, like with his diet that specifically forbids the chewing of food on Monday. It’s hard to argue with success, though, and whatever he’s doing seems to be working for him!