Beyoncé issued a moving and powerful address to the graduating class of 2020, as part of Barack and Michelle Obama’s YouTube commencement ceremony.
The Grammy-winning artist used her speech to address the killings of unarmed black men by police in the US, including George Floyd’s death last month.
“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.”
Among the many issues she addressed, Beyoncé highlighted her experiences of misogyny in the music industry and how it made her more determined to own her art.
“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.