This weekend, the 87th East LA Classic between the Roosevelt High School Rough Riders and the Garfield High School Bulldogs was held at the fabled Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. It was a hard-fought game between the long-time rivals and saw the Garfield High School Bulldogs prevail over the Roosevelt Rough Riders by a score of 16-8.
The Los Angeles Coliseum provided the perfect backdrop for the game, much more than just a football game, it was a celebration of sports, scholarship, tradition, and a source of pride for the communities and families of Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles.
The Black Eyed Peas have deep roots with East Los Angeles. will.i.am grew up in the Boyle Heights neighborhood in East Los Angeles. His mother and two uncles attended Roosevelt High School. Taboo’s (Jimmy Gomez) mother attended rival Garfield High School. Apl.de.Ap (Allan Pineda Lindo) immigrated from the Philippines and spent plenty of time in Boyle Heights with his childhood best friend will.i.am.
Prior to the Varsity Game Kick Off, a VIP reception was hosted by Coliseum Commissioner George Pla where Black Eyed Peas bandmates will.i.am, Taboo, and Apl.de.Ap were honored and presented with the Keys to the City of Los Angeles and Certificates of Appreciation for their service to the community by 9th District City Councilman Curran D. Price, Jr.
During a pre-game ceremony, a group of over 200 students, family members and staff from the i.am College Track program were recognized on the playing field, accompanied by remarks from the i.am/Angel foundation’s President and Founder will.i.am.
The coin toss was performed by Austin Beutner, former LAUSD Superintendent, and observed by Mike Garrett, Roosevelt High School alum and Heisman Trophy winner for USC; and Lynn Cain, also a Roosevelt High School alum and retired NFL pro who played for the Falcons and Rams. Lynn Cain also happens to be will.i.am’s uncle.
The East LA Classic evening featured an electric halftime performance by the Black Eyed Peas. As the members of the group have strong ties to both schools and communities, their participation in, including producing the halftime show, was a gift to the students, athletes, and families of East Los Angeles.
Before an audience of close to 30,000, Black Eyed Peas staged a show that rivaled their biggest worldwide tours. The Garfield and Roosevelt high school marching bands and cheer squads joined the group as they performed the final song on the set list. The halftime show also featured a drone show, “Boyle Heights World Tour” by Sky Elements that illuminated the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the downtown Los Angeles skyline with a choreographed aerial multi-color light show.
The Los Angeles Coliseum has a long history of hosting and supporting high school football in the greater Los Angeles area and was thrilled for the opportunity to host this event once again as it coincides with the “Coliseum Forever” celebration honoring the 100th anniversary of the storied venue.
The i.am/Angel Foundation would like to thank will.i.am, the Black Eyed Peas, i.am College Track, Roosevelt High School, Cordoba Corporation/George Pla, and the LA Unified School District for an amazing evening our student wont soon forget!