Beyoncé has shared her speech for the Class of 2020 project in full.
The project is spearheaded by Barack and Michelle Obama, and has garnered contributions from Lizzo, Katy Petty, BTS, and Lady Gaga.
Beyoncé was invited to contribute, and responded with a heartfelt, nuanced speech, one that tackled racism, her experiences of sexism in the music industry and so much more.
Referring to the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, she 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.”
Referring to her experiences of sexism within the music industry, she decried the slow pace of change.
“The entertainment business is still very sexist,” she said. “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.”
Watch the speech below.
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