The Best Commencement Speeches from ‘Dear Class of 2020’

On Sunday, June 7th, Barack Obama and Michelle Obama hosted YouTube’s virtual graduation ceremony “Dear Class of 2020” – a virtual graduation celebration dedicated to the graduates of 2020 who were unable to attend their commencement ceremonies due to the global pandemic.

The nearly five-hour, festival-style event combined classic commencement day themes with a diverse array of entertainment. As part of the festivities, we saw singers, actors and thought leaders give commencement speeches and performances to mark a graduating class like no other.

The event the likes of BeyoncéBTS, Taylor Swift, Lizzo and Lady Gaga participate and give commencement speeches.

Scroll here for the best commencement speeches from the event:

1. Beyonce

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter made a powerful statement on the Black Lives Matter movement and sexism in the music industry during YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” virtual graduation on Saturday.

The singer started by congratulating the high school seniors who persevered through an unprecedented time in the country.

“Congratulations to the class of 2020, you have arrived here in the middle of a global crisis, a racial pandemic and worldwide expression of outrage at the senseless killing of yet another unarmed Black human being. And you still made it, we’re so proud of you,” she said.

2. The Obamas

3. Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga painted a picture of racism in America as a malignant forest that needs to be uprooted in her graduation speech for YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” event.

The Grammy-winning singer said she had to rewrite her speech after the death of George Floyd and the nationwide protests against systemic racism and police brutality that began last week.

“You are watching what is a pivotal moment in this country’s evolution. You are watching society change in a deeply important way. This change will be slow, and we will have to be patient. But change will happen and it will be for the better,” she began. Gaga also said that high school graduates are living through this unprecedented time in history and are seeds that would bring about change.

4. BTS

Concluding with a hopeful message, the band said that they hoped “Their stories reached you all today. Some say we have achieved so many things, but we are no different from others in their 20s. We may just be seeing each other through a camera, but I know your future will boom into something much bigger.”

In true BTS-fashion, the band threw graduation caps in the air and shouted, “Congratulations, class of 2020!”

5. Mark Hamill & Daisy Ridley

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