Beyoncé is encouraging graduates to pave the way for a better world. On Sunday, the 38-year-old singer delivered a soul-stirring speech during YouTube's "Dear Class of 2020" virtual event, showing her support for those who have spoken out against racism and social injustice. "Thank you for using your collective voice and letting the world know that Black lives matter," she said. "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 then opened up about her personal journey to stardom, sharing how she experienced rejection, racial discrimination, and sexism in the music industry. "I know how hard it is to step out and bet on yourself," she said. However, she noted that carving out your own space is important in breaking barriers and supporting important causes. "One of the main purposes of my art for many years has been dedicated to showing the beauty of Black people to the world — our history, our profundity, and the value of Black lives," she said. "I've tried my best to pull down the veil of appeasement to those who may feel uncomfortable with our excellence."
She also motivated graduates to keep standing strong and making a positive impact. "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," she said. "Make those power moves. Be excellent. And to the young kings, lean into your vulnerability and redefine masculinity. Lead with heart."
The "Formation" songstress went on to uplift marginalized groups, saying, "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." Watch Beyoncé's full speech in the video above.