Words Of Wisdom: Black Celebs Give Life Advice In 2018 Commencement Speeches

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Paula Rogo May, 13, 2018

It’s graduation season and some of your faves took the stage to impart their wisdom in commencement speeches to the esteemed class of 2018. Here are snippets:

Chadwick Boseman, Howard University
“Purpose is the essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history. Your very existence is wrapped up in the things you are here to fulfill…Whatever you choose for a career path, remember the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.” 

Oprah, University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism“You will become the new editorial gate-keepers, an ambitious army of truth-seekers who will arm yourselves with the intelligence, with the insights and the facts necessary to strike down deceit,” she said. “You can answer false narratives with real information and you can set the record straight.”

Chance The Rapper, Dillard University
“Living up to your heroes is amazing, but it’s not good enough. The difference between goodness and greatness is going beyond. You have to push forward and surpass their greatness in order to pay homage to their struggle. Don’t be afraid. Beyonce had Mike. Mike didn’t have Mike. Mike had James Brown. James Brown had Cab Calloway. And so on and so on. Right now the greatest performer who ever lived might very well be in this audience. And that person has something Beyonce never had. They got Beyonce…and so you have the greatest performance of all time. To watch to study it, to learn from it, but not to replicate it. To surpass it.”

Tina Knowles Lawson, University of Southern California Baccalaureate graduates 
“When I told my husband I don’t want to speak there I didn’t even go to college why would they want to hear what I have to say,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “My husband said to me, no you don’t have a college degree but you certainly have a doctorates degree in life, or you might just inspire someone who has shared the same challenges as you. So as always when there is something in my life that I am afraid of, and that I feel that I need to conquer, I got along with the business of doing the darn thing.”