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DEAR CLASS OF 2020: It’s Commencement SZN! The Obamas, Taraji P. Henson, Loni Love & More Step Up To Make It Memorable

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Graduation season is here! Unfortunately, grads will not be able to walk across the stage to receive their diplomas. However, celebs are stepping in to make it a memorable 2020 Commencement. Grab your cap and gown and celebrate inside…

It sucks that grade schoolers, professional school grads, high school seniors and college students will not get to experience walking across the stage to celebrate the next step in their lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms have teamed up with celebs to host virtual commencement ceremonies for the history books.

We already told you about Facebook's graduation ceremony that will feature speeches and appearances from Oprah, Lil Nas X and more on May15th. Now, additional commencement ceremonies have been planned to give the Class of 2020 the best commencement ceremony ever considering the circumstances.

Forever president Barack Obama is set to deliver a special speech during the “Show Me Your Walk HBCU Edition” virtual commencement to honor Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The ceremony is scheduled to go down on May 16th at 2pm EST. The event will be hosted by Kevin Hart with special appearances from Steve Harvey, NBA ballers Chris Paul and Vince Carter, legendary actress Debbie Allen, actress Vivica Fox.

Graduates will also be treated to performances by Anthony Hamilton, Wyclef Jean, Omari Hardwick, and other musical guests—as well as a drumline mash-up featuring Doug E. Fresh.

Other participants include Chase Consumer Banking CEO Thasunda Brown Duckett, Ariel Investments Co-CEO and President Mellody Hobson, National Urban League president Marc Morial, and academic leaders from participating HBCUs.

The two-hour commencement will be live-streamed on Chase’s YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn channels, as well as HBCU Connect’s Facebook page and Essence Studios on Saturday, May 16th at 2pm EST.

People have been vocal about wanting the Obamas to speak to the graduating class of 2020. And they heard everyone's call.

"Over the past month, President and Mrs. Obama have received dozens of requests from around the globe to address graduating classes whose in-person commencement events have been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," the former president's office said in a statement on Tuesday. "Today, the Obamas are pleased to announce that they will participate in multiple virtual commencement celebrations for students, families and educators."

Forever President O will also deliver a speech for the "Graduate Together" virtual event that will air on ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC, as well as Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube, and other platforms.

Other celeb guests include LeBron James,Yara Shahidi, H.E.R., Lena Waithe, Pharrell Williams, Malala Yousafzai, the Jonas Brothers, Bad Bunny, Megan Rapinoe, and Ben Platt. The ceremony will take place on May 16th at 8pm EST and will air on the networks and social media platforms mentioned.

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To the #Classof2020, I know how hard you all have worked to make it to graduation. You’ve put in long hours studying. You’ve thrown yourself into extracurricular activities and after-school jobs. And you’ve done everything you can to be there for your friends through it all. Some of you will be the first in your families to graduate from high school or college, making this occasion all the more special. And I know that none of you imagined you would be closing this chapter of your life through a computer or phone screen. But I still want to make sure you still get the celebration you deserve. That’s why, through my @reachhigher Initiative, I’m working with @youtube Originals to host a special virtual graduation for you on June 6th. Whether you’re graduating from high school, college, or any other kind of school––we want you, your family, and all of your loved ones to be a part of this celebration. And we want to do this right for all of you, so I’ll be inviting some very special guests—including @BarackObama—to help ring in this momentous day. RSVP here bit.ly/RHGraduation and then tune in on June 6th at yt.be/classof2020. #ReachHigher

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President O along with his wife Michelle Obama will be hosting YouTube's virtual "Dear Class of 2020" celebration on June 6th for the class of 2020. Other celebs that will participate include Kerry Washington, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, Malala Yousafzai, Sundar Pichai, former Defense Secretary Bob Gates, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The live stream will start at 3pm EST on June 6th.

The "iHeartMedia’s Podcast Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020" is set to go down May 15th, which would include speeches from John Legend, Khalid, Pitbull, Hillary Clinton, Jimmy Fallon and more.

Her Campus’ "I’m Still Graduating" event will feature speeches from Teyana Taylor and more.


"The Real" co-host Loni Love announced she'll be delivering the commencement speech for her alma mater, Cass Technical High School, one of Detroit's most prestigious and highest-performing schools. It'll be her very first commencement speech. By the way, Loni went on to become an engineer as well before entering the comedy and hosting game.

The EMMY winner - rocking her Cass Tech t-shirt - proudly shared the news on the show (recorded from home).

"I will be giving a virtual commencement to my alma mater, for my high school, Cass Tech in June. It will be my first commencement speech," she shared.

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Oscar nominated actress Taraji P. Henson will be delivering the commencement speech for Prince George's County Schools "eGraduation Celebration in Maryland" commencement event. The Oxon Hill native will be joined by several celebrities including R&B singer Kenny Lattimore, radio host/comedian Joe Clair, NFL cornerback Joe Haden and local news anchor Taylor Thomas.

The event will be televised locally on Saturday May 30th (via WJLA 24/7) and the following day at noon (via ABC7).

Hold up wait a minute...



No graduation stage? No problem! This proud Memphis dad built a stage for his daughter to walk across.

Torrence Burson said he hated to see his daughter, Gabrielle Pierce, upset that she couldn't walk across the stage to receive her diploma from Xavier University of Louisiana. So, he made it happen.

"After all those years, you’re going to walk across somebody’s stage if I have to build you one myself," Burson told FOX 13. And that's exactly what he did.

“Initially I was upset, I was crying. It took me like a week to stop crying. I really wanted to walk, I felt like I needed to walk,” Gabrielle said.

“I went to bed and woke up in the middle of the night and said, ‘that’s it. I’m just going to be the graduation here,'” Burson said.

Dad built the stage, they held a ceremony and it was everything the 2020 grad could ask for during this trying time.

“I was just I awe. I was amazed. I couldn’t believe a lot of people showed up. People were driving by yelling congratulations,” said Gabrielle.

Loves it!

Speaking of makeshift graduation ceremonies:



"RHOA" star Kandi Burruss celebrated her daughter Riley Burruss' graduating high school. They called family and friends over to drive by and congratulate Riley for her big accomplishment:



Congrats, Riley!

Photo: White House Photo by Pete Souza

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