Obamas, Lady Gaga to Headline YouTube’s Virtual 2020 Commencement Event

In this Oct. 31, 2017, file photo, former President Barack Obama, right, and former first lady Michelle Obama appear at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago. The Obamas have unveiled a slate of projects in development for Netflix, a year after the former president and first lady signed a deal …
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File

Former president Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama are set to give virtual commencement speeches for the graduating class of 2020, who are forced to celebrate their graduations remotely due to the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.

The boy band BTS and pop star Lady Gaga will also be giving commencement speeches, and there will even be guest appearances by Alicia Keys, Kelly Rowland, Kerry Washington, Chloe X Halle, Zendaya, and more, according to a report by Deadline.

The report added that the virtual commencement ceremony, entitled, Dear Class of 2020, will be a multi-hour event hosted on YouTube on June 6, and will celebrate this year’s graduating students “worldwide.”

“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 YouTube’s Susanne Daniels.

“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,” she added.

US President Barack Obama and US first lady Michelle Obama sit during a break in a taping of ‘The View’ at ABC Studios September 24, 2012 in New York, New York. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages)

Lady Gaga speaks onstage during the 32nd American Cinematheque Award Presentation honoring Bradley Cooper at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on November 29, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

The former president and first lady are expected to deliver their own separate commencement speeches — as well as a joint message — to the graduating high school and college seniors who are forced to watch a virtual ceremony due to the deadly Wuhan coronavirus.

YouTube says that the Dear Class of 2020 is meant for people around the world to come together to celebrate their resilience, as well as the endless possibilities of their future.

“The festival-style line up combines classic commencement day themes with a diverse array of entertainment that will capture all of the emotions of graduation including pride, hope, optimism, and camaraderie,” said YouTube.

Many graduating — and current — students, however, are unsure about their futures, given that draconian measures implemented in response to the Chinese virus have resulted in upended businesses, plunging millions of Americans into unemployment and financial devastation.

An estimated 28 million Americans are canceling or changing their education plans at colleges and universities over the Wuahn virus, which has shaken up the world of academia.

Meanwhile, universities across the country are facing class-action lawsuits filed by students demanding refunds due to the alleged lack of quality in education and services they have received as a result of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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