College graduation season is swinging, and one of our faves, Janelle Monae, took the stage Saturday to give Dillard University graduates advice on post-college life.
The Hidden Figures actress, who seen success in movies and music, shared her three secrets to life with the graduates: “No. 1, the importance of being gracious. No. 2, the importance of being proud. No. 3, the importance of choosing freedom over fear,” she said.
Monae did not graduate from university, so she was proud to also receive her first honorary diploma while also delivering her first commencement speech ever.
“I never thought that I would see the day … when I would be getting an honorary degree,” she said.
Monae said that she was inspired by the example of Mary Jackson, the pioneering woman she played in Hidden Figures. And it was that role that encouraged her to accept Dillard’s invitation to speak because the school has a history of producing African American women in STEM.
“It’s important that I continue to push their legacy forward,” she said.
“And so on this day graduates of 2017,” she added later in her speech. “I celebrate you as you remember the power of grace and pride, and I challenge you to choose freedom over fear.”
Ultimately, Monae was honored by the experience, tweeting: “THANK YOU 4 HAVING ME AS YOUR COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER.”
You can watch a video of her speech here: