Dillard University Grants Chance The Rapper an Honorary Doctorate Degree at Commencement Ceremony10 months ago by Hadiya Cambridge in Trending
Chance The Rapper is often praised for his activism, strong political beliefs and let’s not forget his generously hefty donations to charities. Earlier this month, we celebrated Chance being chosen to speak at a Dillard University’s commencement ceremony, a historically black liberal arts college in New Orleans.
On Saturday (May 12th) the ceremony finally took place with Chance being the highly anticipated speaker. During his speech, the rapper challenged the graduates “to be better than those who came before them and to fearlessly transcend their heroes.”
“Some people might find this kind of talk disrespectful, but it’s exactly the opposite. The highest form of respect that we can pay to the people who came before us, the people who sacrificed for us and gave us everything, is to be better than them,” Chance said.
“Our parents, grandparents, ancestors sacrificed, not so that we can keep doing the same thing that they were doing but so that we can be better. To simply copy them would be almost an insult to their sacrifice,” he continued.
The 25 year old was later granted an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the university for his “philanthropy and continued service to the youth.” Throughout his speech, Chance paid homage to those who musically inspired him from the beginning. He included the late Michael Jackson who he stated inspired his “craft” and livelihood.” Michael Jackson “was the greatest” and “solidified his space in world history,” Chance said. His praise followed to the artist he compared to MJ and being one of the “greatest performers of our time,” naming Beyonce.
“In real time, in one fell swoop, she eclipsed every Grammy performance, every Super Bowl halftime show, every talent show.” He stated. “Literally, any performance from the beginning of time in contrast became outdated and obsolete. Better than any performance Michael Jackson ever did.” In that moment, he paused as he came to realization.
“I realized that all of us have a responsibility to be greater than the people who came before us. We have a responsibility to be not as good as them or live up to their example, but to actually surpass them, even when it seems scary. We have to overcome that fear and be greater than our role models,” he told the graduates. “We have to erase the fear and stigma behind eclipsing our heroes.”
“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,” he said.
“Beyonce had Mike. Mike didn’t have Mike. Mike had James Brown. James Brown had Cab Calloway, and so on and so on,” he continued. “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.”
Chance ended his inspiring speech with a standing ovation. Each graduate leaving with hope and a promise to themselves to erase the fear and an eclipsed heart.