UPDATED, 8:20 AM: Former President Barack Obama will deliver a commencement message for America’s high school seniors in a televised multimedia primetime special Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020. ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC will simultaneously air the special on May 16, at 8 pm ET/PT/7 pm CT, along with more than 20 other broadcast and digital streaming partners.
Hosted by XQ Institute, The LeBron James Family Foundation, and The Entertainment Industry Foundation the primetime special will bring together notable figures to give a joyful tribute to America’s Class of 2020. Among those joining President Obama are LeBron James, Malala Yousafzai, the Jonas Brothers, Yara Shahidi, Bad Bunny, Lena Waithe, Pharrell Williams, Megan Rapinoe, H.E.R., Ben Platt, and others.
PREVIOUS, 8 AM: Barack and Michelle Obama will headline “Dear Class of 2020”, YouTube Originals’ virtual commencement event to celebrate graduates worldwide. The multi-hour event premieres Saturday, June 6 on YouTube. BTS and Lady Gaga also are among the commencement speakers, with special appearances by Alicia Keys, Kelly Rowland, Kerry Washington, Chloe x Halle and Zendaya, among others.
Barack and Michelle Obama each will deliver commencement speeches – as well as a joint heartfelt message – to this year’s high school and college seniors who are missing graduation celebrations due to the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, Michelle Obama’s Higher Reach Initiative will host a full hour of content to kick off the celebration.
“Graduation is a tradition that students and families look forward to and with the current state of the world, YouTube is lending some inspiration in the form of a virtual commencement,” said Susanne Daniels, Global Head of Content for YouTube. “We hope bringing together noteworthy, influential speakers along with performances from some of their favorite artists will provide encouragement for the students who have worked so hard to get here.”
In addition to BTS and Lady Gaga, commencement speakers include former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, CEO of Alphabet and Google Sundar Pichai, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Malala Yousafzai. BTS and others will perform at a virtual grad night afterparty. “Dear Class of 2020” will also include special appearances from YouTube creators Jackie Aina, AsapSCIENCE, Dude Perfect, Mr. Kate, And The Try Guys.
In “Dear Class of 2020,” people from around the world will join the class of 2020 as a singular community to celebrate their resilience, and the endless possibilities of their future, says YouTube. “The festival-style line up combines classic commencement day themes with a diverse array of entertainment that will capture all of the emotions of graduation including pride, hope, optimism, and camaraderie.”
YouTube is working in partnership with Higher Reach, Born This Way Foundation, Malala Fund, TODAY, and Ideas United to showcase student stories and feature graduates around the world, including a crowd-sourced commencement speech. The special will be produced by Done + Dusted.
“Dear Class of 2020” can be streamed on the YouTube Originals channel and the [email protected] site. The full schedule of commencement events will be available on the [email protected] site beginning on May 17.