Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley interview The Black Eyed Peas’ Apl.de.ap, who shares his song “I Cry” on the Open to Hope radio show. The story behind this song is one that few people know—the suicide of his brother and how it impacted his entire family. He’s an original member of The Black Eyed Peas, growing with the group as they moved from a small hip hop community to a global phenomenon. Selling 7.5 million albums worldwide, the winner of three Grammy’s and nominated for four more, he says he’s fortunate to be able to write and share music that’s close to his heart amidst this tremendous success.
His brother, Darnell, died at 25 years old. Apl.de.ap was his elder brother, and they grew up together in the Philippines. At just four years older, Apl.de.ap was very much the quintessential “older brother.” “I guess he was going through a lot of stuff, the same things I was going through,” he says. However, Apl.de.ap was in the US and his brother was in their home country. “Maybe I could have helped him out,” he says, had he known what was happening to his brother. Apl.de.ap was adopted by an American family, but his brother remained in the Philippines.
The Blame Game
Like many bereaved siblings, Apl.de.ap still thinks there are things he could have done to save his brother. He feels guilt for leaving his brother, and will likely wonder about the “what ifs” for the rest of his life. Apl.de.ap came to the US on a special program, particularly because he’s legally blind and there was medical care in the US which helped.
His goal of adoption was to gain enough success to send money back home. He was naturally attracted to music, and now uses it as a means of healing from grief.