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Obamas, Beyonce address young activists amid Black Lives Matter protests

Former US President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Beyonce and several other celebrities on Sunday virtually addressed the young activists during the Black Lives Matter protests

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk
New Delhi Published on: June 08, 2020 7:20 IST
Obamas, Beyonce address young activists amid Black Lives Matter protests
Image Source : YOU TUBE GRAB

Obamas, Beyonce address young activists amid Black Lives Matter protests

Former US President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Beyonce and several other celebrities on Sunday virtually addressed the young activists during the Black Lives Matter protests. Though several speeches in YouTube's "Dear Class of 2020" live stream were recorded before Black Lives Matters protests broke out across the country following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, a handful of celebrities focused on praising young activists for their role in pushing for change. 

Former first lady Michelle Obama joined the live stream to address protests in the US and called attention to the country's long history of racisim. She also urged the graduates to encourage their peer to vote and learn more about their local elections, as reported by USA Today. 

"What's happening right now is the direct result of decades of unaddressed prejudice and inequality," she said. "For too many people in this country, no matter how hard they work, there are structural barriers for them that just make the road longer and rockier. … If you can't even approach the police without fearing for your life, well, then how do you even begin to chart your own course?"

She added later: "Not only can you do better than those who came before you, but you will." 

Beyoncé, too, praised young people for their role in raising their voices in response to Floyd's death and called for more black female voices in the music industry. 

"You have arrived here in the middle of a global crisis, a racial pandemic and worldwide expression of outrage at the senseless killing of yet another unarmed black human being. And you still made it," she said. "Thank you for using your collective voice in letting the world know that Black Lives Matter." 

Beyoncé, too, praised young people for their role in raising their voices in response to Floyd's death and called for more black female voices in the music industry. 

Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Liza Koshy, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and Shawn Mendes also joined in on the congratulations. Other guests teased to join later in the broadcast include Jennifer Lopez, Malala Yousafzai, Missy Elliott, Tom Hanks, BTS, Michael B. Jordan, the cast of "Schitt's Creek," Billie Eilish, Katy Perry and John Mulaney. 

At the end of the broadcast, Barack Obama returned for final words to the graduating class. He said:"Yours comes as the world turned upside down, by a pandemic, and a country swept up by protest. I can barely imagine how head-spinning these months have been for you."

He also said that the peaceful protesters were "unbelievably inspiring. You make me optimistic about our future" because "the old normal wasn't good enough."

Obama called for graduating students to serve society, use technology and social media wisely, to keep faith in democracy – by voting and protesting. “After all, we are a nation founded on protest.” 

"America changed, has always changed, because young people dared to hope," said Obama. "Congratulations Class of 2020. Make it mean something, and keep making us proud."

Katy Perry, wearing a white gown that highlighted her pregnant baby bump, then instructed the graduating class to move their mortarboard tassels from right to left, signifying the end of the ceremony. Perry belted her songs "Daisies" and  "Firework."

The broadcast was intended to give graduating high school seniors a proper sendoff since many graduation ceremonies around the country have been delayed or canceled by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Dear Class of 2020" had been set to livestream Saturday, but organizers pushed it back a day so it wouldn't conflict with Floyd's memorial service.

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