British actress Miriam Margolyes stunned rapper Will.i.am after telling him she was fascinated to meet him because she didn't "know many black people".

Will.i.am appeared speechless when the Harry Potter star admitted she was transfixed by him just minutes into their interview on The Graham Norton Show.

"I'm just fascinated by you because unfortunately, I don't know many black people, except in show business - and that's what's so nice ... I don't know much about rappers, you're the first one I've actually talked to," Margolyes told him.

The audience gasped but the Black Eyed Peas star appeared to take her comments in good humour, telling her, "I'm the first rapper and black dude you kicked it with."

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He later taught her the meaning of the slang words "homeboys" and "old school".

Margolyes later heaped praise on Will.i.am for his charity work.

"You're fabulous, you really are ... You're making a difference, and that's what we all want to do in our lives. How unexpected that this rapper would do this!"

The Graham Norton Show screens on TV3 on Friday nights.

Watch footage from the interview:

- Bang! Showbiz