With students all over the world unable to walk across the pivotal stage and collect their certificates and diplomas due to the global pandemic, YouTube Originals have hosted their own virtual commencement celebration. Bringing together inspirational leaders and celebrities such as Barack Obama, Beyoncé and BTS, the celebration pays tribute to students and communities all over the world with motivational and inspirational speeches.
International superstar and global icon Beyoncé thanked the class of 2020 for using their collective voices to support Black Lives Matter, speaking on the issue Beyoncé said: “The killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breanna Taylor and so many others have left us all broken, it has left the entire country searching for answers. We’ve seen that our collective hearts, when put to positive action, can start the wheels of change. Real change.”
Taylor Swift also spoke at the virtual graduation, recounting her experiences of high school stating, “When I was younger I would fantasise about graduation and being with all of your friends and the cap and gown. But when I got to the point of my life, I found myself on radio tour with my mom in rental cars and sitting on the floors of airports and I ended up getting mailed my diploma. One good lesson to come from it is expect the unexpected but celebrate anyway.
Barack Obama gave a moving speech about challenges and the road ahead as he said, “So as scary and uncertain as these times may be, they are also a wake-up call, and they are an incredible opportunity for your generation. Because you don’t have to accept what was considered normal before. You don’t have to accept the world as it is. You can make it into the world as it should be and could be. You can create a new normal, one that is fairer, and gives everyone opportunity, and treats everyone equally, and builds bridges between people instead of dividing them.”
Chromatica singer Lady Gaga encouraged kindness and love during her speech saying, “I believe, you beautiful seeds have been presented with a wonderful gift: The opportunity to reflect on this powerful moment, on your morals, your principles, and your values and how they will guide you through life as it presents itself.”
The four-hour special also featured performances and speeches from Lizzo, Megan Thee Stallion, Alicia Keys, Shawn Mendes, Jennifer Lopez, Finneas, Katy Perry and Demi Lovato, actors like Seth Rogen, Chris Pine, Jack Black and John Mulaney, the cast of The Simpsons and Schitt’s Creek, Jimmy Kimmel, Condoleezza Rice and more
While they might not have flowers or graduation caps, the Class of 2020 were celebrated and given the graduation of a lifetime.
Check out the virtual graduation below…