This Sunday, YouTube held a virtual graduation ceremony to celebrate the class of 2020, most of whom have had their graduation cancelled, results postponed, and the final weeks of their classes taken from them by the COVID-19 pandemic. To mark the occasion, a variety of big names including Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and Michelle Obama joined forces to celebrate the students, offering wisdom and insight into their own experiences. The ceremony, which was grouped into five blocks, is available in its entirety online. But if you don’t have five hours to spare, here are some of the best moments.
Lizzo and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra
Lizzo kicked off the virtual event with her flute — aka Sasha — for a reimagined and quintessentially 2020 version of “Pomp and Circumstance” set seamlessly behind a trap beat. Photographs of Black Lives Matter protestors dressed in caps and gowns accompanied the unpredictably emotional performance.
Michelle Obama’s Commencement Address
While both Barack and Michelle Obama gave speeches, the former First Lady’s was one for the history books. Her passionate address to the students showed how anger can be transformed into positive, global reform.
Megan Thee Stallion’s Homemade Video
In true Megan Thee Stallion style, the rapper twerked for education in a homemade TikTok style video, which included “Big Ole Freak,” “Hot Girl Summer,” and a range of other tracks.
FINNEAS remix of U2’s “Beautiful Day”
Even Bono joined in on the celebrations before passing the mic over (figuratively speaking, of course) to an array of “some of the most extraordinary voices on the planet” with a unique remix by FINNEAS. The song included Khalid, Camila Cabello, Leon Bridges, and Noah Cyrus.
Pears of wisdom from Beyoncé
Beyoncé gave a poignant speech that congratulated the class of 2020 and provided recognition to students across the world for “using their collective voice” to support Black Lives Matter, while touching on the male-dominated music industry and the importance of education.
Schitt’s Creek and Mariah Carey
The cast of Schitt’s Creek joined the celebrations with a skit and emotional rendition of Mariah Carey’s “Hero”, before being joined via Zoom by the legend herself. Surprisingly, Moira Rose wasn’t too upset about Mariah stealing the spotlight, wind machine and all.
Lady Gaga Representing the United States of Chromatica
Gaga’s direct and empowering speech focused on the positive moments that have arisen from tragedy, commenting on just how much there is to celebrate and how unadulterated kindness can change the world.
Graduation stories from BTS
BTS closed the graduation ceremony all the way from the National Museum of Korea, where they performed a medley of hits including the acclaimed “Spring Day” alongside a thirteen-minute speech on their own personal and intimate graduation stories.
Watch the full ceremony here.