Pharrell Williams has always been a passionate advocate for women’s rights over the years, so it comes as no surprise that he used his commencement speech to the 2017 graduating class of NYU to reinforce the importance of gender equality.
The “Happy” singer, who received a Doctor of Fine Arts degree at the ceremony, emphasized the importance of feminism to the Tisch School of the Arts graduates on Wednesday (May 18). He also explained to the young audience how their generation has the opportunity to help women achieve equality in the workforce.
“As you find your ways to serve humanity, it gives me great comfort knowing that this generation is the first that understands that we need to lift up our women,” the father of three told the crowd at Yankee Stadium, before adding that the world will be a much better place if women have the same rights and freedoms as men.
“Imagine the possibilities when we remove imbalance from the ether, because it’s imbalanced right now. Imagine the possibilities when women are not held back,” the Virginia native explained.
Pharrell even complimented the new graduates for “unraveling deeply entrenched laws, principals, and misguided values that have held women back for far too long” and how they have the “confidence to treat women as equals.”
The Hidden Figures composer isn’t the only famous face who has recently donned a graduation cap and gown to deliver an uplifting speech to young adults. Octavia Spencer talked to graduating students at Kent University last week while Will Ferrell gave a hilarious and empowering talk to University of Southern California grads earlier this month. And the queen of inspiration, Oprah Winfrey, is set to give some life advice to men and women at The Skidmore College on Saturday (May 20).