LOS ANGELES – President Barack Obama said in his opening speech Sunday that the nationwide protests following the deaths of unarmed black women and men, including George Floyd, have stemmed from “decades of pain, frustration, inequitable treatment and failure to carry out police procedures.” . “
Obama, along with his wife, Michelle, addressed YouTube’s “Dear Class 2020” virtual ceremony. The duo, along with a wide-ranging, star-studded lineup including Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Tom Brady, delivered inspirational news in hopes of empowering new graduates.
Former president graduates said the Corona virus shone a light on America’s continuing problems.
“In many ways, the epidemic has brought into focus issues that have long been growing,” he continued. “Whether it is expanding economic inequality, the lack of basic health care for millions, the continued suffering of generosity and sexuality, or the dysfunction or dysfunction that has affected our political system.”
Obama added: “These times are awful and uncertain. They are a wake-up call. They are an incredible opportunity for your generation.”
Michelle Obama said the ongoing protests following Floyd’s death were “a direct result of decades of neglect, discrimination and inequality.” He said he understands people who are “scared or confused or angry, or simply overwhelmed” with the events of the past few months.
“For the past two months, our foundation has been shaken,” he said. “Not only was it an epidemic that stole so many of our loved ones, but also elevated our daily lives and sent tens of thousands of people unemployed, and the noise of the old-fashioned lines that our nation had built, the power that the lines of race now expose all of us naked again.
Beyonc 10 delivered a 10-minute speech to graduates. He talked about recent struggles, as well as his secrets to success and the importance of ownership.
“You achieve things your parents and grandparents never thought possible,” he said. “You answer the prayers of a generation.”
Beyonce advised graduates to believe in themselves as they did when the singer started her own company more than a decade ago. Creating her own path in an entertainment business is challenging, she said, which is still “very sexual” and “male-dominated.” The singer said the demonstrations have already made an impact.
“Look at what you’ve been able to do over the last 14 days,” he said. “We saw the power of cooperation. We saw what happens when we join for the same reason. Please, continue to be a voice for the voiceless. “
The four-hour ceremony has been filmed over the past several weeks, but Lady Gaga has decided to re-record her message. His opening speech touched on the effect that COVID-19 had on this year’s graduating class, but he wanted to talk more about Floyd’s death, the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests.
“I want to tell you today that although my original opening speech is not directly relevant to what this country needs right now, there is much to be regretted and much to celebrate,” he said. “You are looking at what is an important moment in this evolution.… Change will happen, and it will be better.”
Taylor Swift said her high school graduation was not what she expected. The singer told a story about how she was on tour and was unable to attend her own ceremony.
“I know this is not some kind of graduation and you thought you would get it,” he said. “I mailed my diploma. … This is not what I pictured. “
Lizzo kicked off the ceremony with a lively performance. Before greeting the graduates as the New York Philharmonic came along, the “Truth Hearts” singer performed her classic “Refreshment and Situation.”
Cynthia Erivo, Camilla Cabello, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Ty Dollock, Khalid and many other musicians collaborated to sing U2’s “Beautiful Day.” Katy Perry led the graduates in a ceremonial Dussell turn at the end of the opening celebration.