Barack and Michelle Obama Will Give the Class of 2020 a Virtual Commencement Address

Savannah Walsh
Photo credit: Mark Wilson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Mark Wilson - Getty Images

From Oprah Magazine

The class of 2020's graduation ceremony will look a little different this year. With in-person ceremonies canceled everywhere, YouTube Originals' has announced "Dear Class of 2020," a virtual event that will be headlined by Barack and Michelle Obama. The former President and First Lady will each deliver commencement addresses during the multi-hour special, as well as share a joint message. Michelle's Higher Reach Initiative will also host a full hour of content to kick off the event.

"Dear Class of 2020" will celebrate high school and college seniors who are missing graduation ceremonies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will air on YouTube on Saturday, June 6, and several other high-profile speakers will make appearances. Those set to give speeches and shoutouts include BTS, Lady Gaga, Zendaya, Chloe x Halle, Kerry Washington, Alicia Keys, and Kelly Rowland.

“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.”

The special will also be available to stream on the Learn@Home site and feature student stories from around the world. YouTube is partnering with Higher Reach, Born This Way Foundation, the Malala Fund, TODAY, and Ideas United to honor graduates. Other special appearances during "Dear Class of 2020" include former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates; Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet and Google; former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; Malala Yousafzai; and YouTube creators Jackie Aina, AsapSCIENCE, Dude Perfect, Mr. Kate, and The Try Guys.

This isn't the only A-list commencement address happening this year. Barack Obama will give remarks during the May 16 primetime special Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020. That event will be broadcast across all four major networks as well as several streaming partners at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT. It will feature guest appearances from LeBron James, the Jonas Brothers, Megan Rapinoe, and Lena Waithe, among others.

Oprah Winfrey will deliver the commencement speech for a Facebook commencement event, which will include cameos from Awkwafina, Simone Biles, Jennifer Garner, and Lil Nas X, according to The Hollywood Reporter.