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Beyonce class of 2020 speech

Beyoncé discusses racism, sexism and individuality in Dear Class Of 2020 speech

08 June 2020, 14:15 | Written by Cerys Kenneally

Beyoncé has shared a powerful graduation speech for the Dear Class Of 2020 special, which sees her speak out about racism, sexism, and individuality.

Dear Class Of 2020 was YouTube's virtual graduation ceremony for everyone around the world graduating during the coronavirus pandemic. Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, Barack and Michelle Obama, BTS, and others gave speeches during the ceremony.

Beyoncé's speech, which runs for 10 minutes, saw her highlight the achievement of graduating "in the middle of a global crisis, a racial pandemic and worldwide expression of outrage".

On the ongoing protests happening around the world, 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."

Beyoncé also discusses sexism within the music industry, and uses her own experience to relay her message, "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."

She adds, "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 overlooked and waiting to be seen."

Beyoncé goes on to address the women that are graduating, stating, "know that you're about to make the world turn. I see you. You are everything the world needs." She also addresses the men, urging them to "lean into your vulnerability and redefine masculinity."

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