Pharrell Williams has earned a slew of accolades in his multi-decade-long career, and he earned another major one this week. The super-producer was recruited by New York University to give the commencement speech at the school’s graduation ceremony earlier today (May 17), before receiving an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.
The music mogul delivered an inspiring 10-minute address to students and faculty, where he spoke on different important topics such as empowering women, how to uplift the next generation, as well as innovation.
“The days of being anonymous activists or participants are over. How can we inspire if we are behind the scenes?” he asked the 2017 graduating students. “Your generation is unraveling deeply entrenched laws, principals, and misguided values that have held women back for far too long and, therefore, have held us all back,” he continued.
A few of the students were able to capture footage of the speech on social media, sharing his impeccable words of wisdom with followers.
This is the first commencement speech Pharrell has been invited to give at a major university, but it’s certainly not the first for musicians this year. Last week, Janelle Monae gave an amazing commencement speech to the graduating class of Dillard University, where she was granted an honorary degree from the school.