Beyoncé joined Lady Gaga, Lizzo, BTS, Megan Thee Stallion, and more artists on Sunday to impart well-wishes and words of wisdom upon this year’s graduating class, as part of the four-hour Dear Class of 2020 YouTube Originals special, spearheaded by Michelle and Barack Obama.
Many of the messages addressed the last few months’ mass upheaval, including the coronavirus pandemic, sudden economic downturn, and the mass protests against racism and policing that have newly gripped the country. Beyoncé’s was no exception.
“The killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many others have left us all broken,” she said. “It has left the entire country searching for answers. We’ve seen that our collective hearts, when put to positive action, could start the wheels of change.”
That positive action, Beyoncé said, was in part spearheaded by the Class of 2020.
“Real change has started with you, this new generation of high school and college graduates who we celebrate today,” she said.
Beyoncé also talked about facing sexism in the music industry—”To run my label and management company, to direct my films and produce my tours, that meant ownership—owning my masters, owning my art, owning my future and writing my own story. Not enough black women had a seat at the table. So I had to go and chop down that wood and build my own table,” she said—and celebrated those who feel like the “other,” noting, “ Your queerness is beautiful, your blackness is beautiful.”
Much like the rest of us, the Class of 2020 faces an uncertain future, one for which Beyoncé didn’t mince words. “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.” she said. “And you still made it. We’re so proud of you.”
You can watch the whole thing above.