30 years ago, Hip Hop was considered a nuisance to the mainstream. The idea that a rapper/producer would be an appropriate commencement speaker for a graduation was far fetched. However, yesterday, that’s just what happened, as Pharrell Williams gave the graduation remarks at NYU, along with receiving an honorary doctorate.
While his speech was short, the former N.E.R.D. artist took time to encourage the graduates to stand up for what they feel to be right. On women’s rights and gender equality he spoke on the unimagined wonders that would occur were women to be allowed to fully thrive without hindrance. He encouraged them to continue to strive to learn and to get from behind the scenes. While humility is necessary, it serves no one to be invisible.
“The days of being an anonymous activist or participant are over. How can we inspire if we are only behind the scenes? How will an anonymous donation ever inspire another? That was the way of the previous generation. Don’t be like them.”
Williams ended his speech with a call to the graduates to serve humanity, as the privilege of their education encourages them to do.
See clips below: