Pharrell Williams Spoke At My Graduation
It was Wednesday, May 17th and Yankee Stadium was filled with hues of purple to represent NYU's violet pride. Also, it was a glorious day in the sweltering heat. I could feel a great deal of sweat dripping down my cheeks. As we all sat wearing the same cap and gown waiting for Pharrell's commencement speech, I felt a mix of vibes. I was overwhelmed with happiness, but a little nervous and uncertain about my future. Mid-way through my worrying and transition-related anxiety, I heard the crowd cheering on Pharrell.
He took the stage gracefully and looked as youthful as ever; I still didn't understand how he possessed such amazing genes and how never appears to age. But what he said that resonated with me the most was about our roles as leaders in society and change-makers, to always remain a student in life, and his comments about uplifting women.
Pharrell's advice was truly moving. We (millennials) are the generation of change- makers, we are intentional in our actions, we live life with a purpose, and we navigate the world with confidence and optimism about the future. He wanted us to imagine the possibilities if women are not held back and when we could truly live in an equal, inclusive and equitable world for everyone left on the margins.
I was deeply grateful and honored to experience such a memorable moment; it was the culmination of all of our undergraduate careers. When he said, "your generation is unraveling deeply entrenched laws, principles, and misguided values that have held women back for far too long, and therefore, have held us all back the human race." In that instant I felt most proud of myself that I, a black women graduating from New York University would be the first women and not the last in my immediate family to graduate from college.