Chicago priest appears in Black Eyed Peas video about love

By Joyce Duriga
Sunday, October 2, 2016

Chicago priest appears in Black Eyed Peas video about love

Father Don Woznicki as he appears in Black Eyed Peas video of "Where Is the Love?"
Black Eyed Peas, and Taboo appear in a promotional photo for the video. Photo provided

When you watch the Black Eyed Peas’ new video version of “Where Is the Love?” the first person you see after frontman is Father Don Woznicki, a priest from the Archdiocese of Chicago.

A random phone call landed the priest in the video. On a hot July day in Los Angeles, where Woznicki ministers to the entertainment industry, the priest answered his phone at Christ the King Parish in Hollywood.

“It was from’s studio, which is about three blocks away,” Woznicki said. “They said would you be interested in being in a Black Eyed Peas video? My initial thought was that I’m not a good dancer. But I said sure.”

In 2008, with the permission of Cardinal George, Woznicki moved out to Los Angeles to develop a ministry to the entertainment industry. He is currently going through the incardination process for the Los Angeles archdiocese.

The Black Eyed Peas were filming a new version of “Where Is the Love?” to raise awareness of the violence going on in the nation and world and to raise money for 16 charities around recent tragedies like those in Dallas and Orlando. The first version of “Where Is the Love?” was released following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

The video features dozens of celebrities including Justin Timberlake, Kendall Jenner, Mary J. Blige and Jamie Foxx. It also includes figures like Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown and religious people such as a rabbi and Woznicki.

The day they called, the band’s producers asked Woznicki to come right over to the studio for the filming. He arrived at the studio all sweaty from the blistering heat. They showed him clips of the video they had so far and then asked him to sit in a chair.

“I thought they were just kind of testing me out but he [the director] goes, ‘Ok, let’s do a take,’” said Woznicki, who was ordained for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 2002. “Something in me said I need to go through all the legalities of this. But then there was another part saying I needed to roll with this or I’m going to miss this opportunity for the church.”

It all happened quickly.

“One minute I’m in my office kind of stressed over some things and I’m sweating. The next thing I know I’m driving back and I’ve just been in what could be a big video,” Woznicki said. It was a personal choice to have a priest at the beginning of the video, said Black Eyed Peas member

“I’ve altered the lyric and it says, ‘Mama, mama, mama, tell us what the hell is going on. Why can’t we all just get along.’ The reason I wanted to put a priest right after I’m addressing my mama is because Mom brought us up with religion. We were Apostolic and I didn’t want a random image when I’m talking to my mom,” told the Catholic New World.

Faith is important in his family and he was asking his mother why religions are fighting each other. “And if I’m going to show an image there I’m going to show how we were raised. I don’t want to have a random person. I don’t want to have a random celebrity. That’s a personal thing for me. It’s like building blocks to how I was configured.”

The lyric that’s playing when Woznicki’s image appears is “Would you practice what you preach? Would you turn the other cheek again?” added the word “again” on this version.

“The Bible says to turn the other cheek. Ok, how many times?” he asked. “From that perspective I don’t get why we still fight. You’re supposed to turn the other cheek as many times as you are supposed to.” believes it was a “call from above” that prompted the group to do a new version of “Where Is the Love?” now when the world has seen so much violent tragedy.

Back in 2001 his grandmother played a big part in guiding and Black Eyed Peas to respond to that terrorist attacks. They had a tour that started on Sept. 12 and considered postponing it because of the attacks. His grandmother told him they were given gifts by God as musicians and were called to respond in some positive way.

“My grandmother would always pray for us. I would always call my grandma when I would get on a plane and ask my grandma for prayer,” he said. “So prayer in my family is like breathing for us. I don’t want to speak for everybody in the group. I grew up in a very spiritual family.”

His grandmother has since died but said he felt “the same type of anointing, the same type of guidance” around this version of the song.

“The same woman us who gave us the strength and prayed over us in 2001 has now passed on and she is now my guardian that is pushing me to do this version as well. If you believe in that kind of stuff. I believe in that kind of stuff,” he said.

Now more than ever the world needs love.

“Here in this era where we’re all connected with devices and disconnected with this device that’s keeping us alive that’s called our heart, both physically and spiritually. All the practices from all of the different religions at the same time are great. They are guiding you to live a better life. For some reasons religions can’t get along and church and state feud. State and media amplify something that’s been happening for centuries,” he said.

“If God has rules then let God be the judge of that. We can’t. I practice what I preach by doing as much as I can. Through my grandma’s prayer she’d always say, ‘Forgive us for the sins that we’ve done, sins of omission and sins of commission — that you told us to do and we did not do, and those that you told us not to do and we’ve done, forgive us from those sins. That was one of the prayers that sticks with me that my grandma always said.”

Having a video where various religious people can appear together asking the same question — “Where is the love?” — is a positive start, he said.

“It was important to have those figures in the video as well as police officers and folks that served in the military as well as celebrities and common folk. To have a balance of people in pursuit of love to ask the question how did we get to the place where love is absent.”

Proceeds from “Where Is the Love?” on iTunes benefit’s non-profit to provide education to inner-city children. To watch the video and connect with the charities, visit


  • cardinal george
  • peace
  • non-violence
  • don woznicki
  • black eyed peas

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