The high school graduating class of 2020 may have been excited to get words of wisdom from Beyoncé, but megastar also took the time to ahead light on the social injustices surrounding the protests, before speaking out about sexism in the music industry.
On Saturday (Jun 6), as a part of YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” virtual graduation ceremony, Mrs. Carter took a moment to congratulate the class on the accomplishment, before noting that the challenge of being an adult is just beginning, adding that civil unrest and a pandemic may be stressful but their reaction and participation is making everyone proud.
“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,” Beyoncé said. “Thank you for using your collective voice and letting the worlds know that Black lives matter. The killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna 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, could start the wheels of change. Real change has started with you, this new generation of high school and college graduates who we celebrate today.”
In addition to discussing the current social climate, Beyoncé took a moment to call out sexism in the music industry revealing that her decision to create her own label was done out of necessity before encouraging creatives to stay in the game.
“The entertainment business is still very sexist. It’s still very male-dominated and as a woman, I did not see enough female role models given the opportunity to what I knew I had to do — 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. Then I had to invite the best there was to have a seat. That meant hiring women, men outsiders, underdogs, people that were overlook and waiting to be seen,” Bey continued. “To the young women, our future leaders, know that you’re about to make the world turn. I see you. You are everything the world needs. Make those power moves. Be excellent. And to the young kings, lean into your vulnerability and redefine masculinity. Lead with heart. There’s so many different ways to be brilliant. I believe you and every human being is born with a masterful gift. Don’t let the world make you feel that you have to look a certain way to be brilliant. And no you don’t have to speak a certain way to be brilliant. But you do have to spread your gift around the planet in a way that is authentically you.”
Lastly, Queen Bey touched on the continued issues plaguing the LBGTQ community as well, letting her young fans know that even when they feel different they should always fight for the right to stand out.
“To all those who feel different. If you’re part of a group that’s called ‘other,’ a group that does not get the chance to be center stage, build your own stage, and make them see you. Your queerness is beautiful, your blackness is beautiful. Your compassion, your understanding, your fight for people who may be different from you, is beautiful. I hope you continue to go into the world and show them that you will never stop being yourself. That it’s your time now, make them see you.”
Check out the full ceremony below.