Beyoncé and Taylor Swift will join the Obamas for YouTube graduation ceremony

Christi Carras

Beyoncé will participate in YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” virtual graduation ceremony. (Getty Images for Coachella)

As if the lineup for YouTube’s virtual graduation ceremony weren’t already star-studded enough, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez and more entertainment icons will now join headliners Barack and Michelle Obama in celebrating the class of 2020.

Among the other celebrities set for YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” livestream next month are Lizzo, Janelle Monáe, Bill and Melinda Gates, Lana Condor, Yara Shahidi, Demi Lovato, Camila Cabello, Hasan Minhaj, Andy Cohen, Billy Porter, Megan Thee Stallion and many more.

The event schedule boasts a variety of festivities, featuring commencement speeches from the Obamas; performances by BTS, Cabello, Chloe X Halle, Lizzo, Maluma, CNCO, Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion; and an “inspirational message” from none other than Queen Bey.

Previously announced participants include Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, Kelly Rowland, Kerry Washington, Malala Yousafzai and Zendaya.

YouTube is one of several platforms enlisting top talent for virtual commencement ceremonies after the coronavirus crisis canceled graduations around the world. On Saturday, former President Barack Obama delivered a pair of powerful speeches to both graduates of high schools and historically black colleges and universities in his first major public addresses since the coronavirus outbreak.

A day earlier, Oprah Winfrey headlined Facebook and Instagram’s #Graduation2020 event featuring Miley Cyrus, Awkwafina, Kristen Bell, Mindy Kaling, Selena Gomez, Sterling K. Brown, Hugh Jackman and more. In her closing speech, Winfrey dubbed 2020 graduates “the chosen class.”

Lakers superstar LeBron James also organized an hourlong commencement special over the weekend, drafting several entertainers including Bad Bunny, Pharrell Williams, the Jonas Brothers, Chika, YBN Cordae, H.E.R., Ben Platt, Megan Rapinoe and Lena Waithe. And before that, “The Office” alum John Krasinski tapped Winfrey, Yousafzai, Steven Spielberg and Jon Stewart for a graduation episode of his hit quarantine web series, “Some Good News.”

YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” starts June 6 at noon Pacific.


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The Obamas will headline YouTube’s graduation ceremony

Igor Bonifacic

michelle and barack obama

It turns out students who are graduating this year will have some options when it comes to their choice of a virtual ceremony. Following Facebook, YouTube announced today it plans to host an online graduation ceremony to honor the class of 2020 as they’re forced to stay home due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Dubbed “Dear Class of 2020,” the event will kick off on June 6th at 3PM ET, with a commencement address delivered by former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. Google CEO Sundar Pichai will also make an appearance, as will musicians like Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys and Kelly Rowland. As you might have guessed from the festival-like lineup, they’ll be musical performances in between speeches. And at the end, K-pop group BTS will host a virtual after-party. 

YouTube will air the entire multi-hour event on its Originals channel, as well as its Learn@Home website. The company plans to share the day’s full schedule on May 17th. 

It’s not a surprise to see Michelle Obama as one of the event’s commencement speakers. The former First Lady is no stranger to working with YouTube. In March, she was one of the stars of the company’s new Creators for Change series. As with Facebook’s virtual graduation, most students would probably prefer to see their friends in person one last time before the end of the school year. That said, it’s not every day someone like the former of the President of the United States delivers your commencement address.  


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