Beyoncé gave a moving speech for 2020 graduates over the weekend, telling them “real change has started with you.”
“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 in a video address as part of YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” event.
“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,” she continued.” 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.”
She went on to discuss the music industry’s own biases and how that prompted her to start Parkwood Entertainment in 2010.
“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,” Beyoncé said. “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.”
“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,” she added.
Both Beyoncé and her husband Jay-Z have been among the leading voices in entertainment calling for social justice and an end to systemic racism. Jay-Z took out full page ads in newspapers across the country last week and Beyoncé has encouraged her supporters to donate to various causes taking action against racism.