YouTube Reschedules 2020 Graduation Event With Obamas, BTS, Beyoncé Due to George Floyd Memorial

Todd Spangler

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YouTube’s star-studded pomp and circumstance will be streaming 24 hours later than originally scheduled.

The video giant’s “Dear Class of 2020” — a four-plus-hour commencement event bringing together more than 70 celebrities, influencers, music artists including BTS and Beyoncé, and leaders including President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama — will now kick off on Sunday, June 7, at noon PT.

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YouTube rescheduled the event, previously set for this Saturday, in observance of a memorial service celebrating the life of George Floyd being held in Raeford, N.C., on June 6. Floyd, who died at 46 on May 25 while in Minneapolis police custody, was born in North Carolina.

“Dear Class of 2020” will mark the first time both President and Mrs. Obama will appear on the same virtual stage for commencement speeches. Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative will host the first hour of the YouTube original special (12-1 p.m. PT), which includes a commencement addresses from Mrs. Obama and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter.

President Obama’s keynote address will be featured in the fourth hour of the special (3-4 p.m. PT), followed by Katy Perry leading graduates in the ceremonial tassel-turn at the end of the commencement celebration.

“Dear Class of 2020” will be livestreamed at this link and can be found on the YouTube Originals channel (at this link) and YouTube’s Learn@Home site (learnathome.withyoutube.com), available across mobile devices, desktops and connected TVs. The special’s prerecorded segments were shot and produced over the last few weeks.

Additional commencement speakers include: K-pop superstars BTS, Lady Gaga, former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Malala Yousafzai.

“Dear Class of 2020” will open with Lizzo and the New York Philharmonic performing the obligatory “Pomp and Circumstance” along with remarks by Alicia Keys. Other music performances will include BTS, Megan Thee Stallion and CNCO — headlining the “grad party” block starting in the fifth hour (4 p.m. PT) — as well as Chloe x Halle, Maluma, and Katy Perry.

Additionally, a special Finneas-produced rendition of U2’s “Beautiful Day” will bring together Leon Bridges, Camila Cabello, Noah Cyrus, Cynthia Erivo, Khalid, Tove Lo, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Ben Platt, and Ty Dolla $ign. The performance will be introduced by Bono.

In another special collaboration, Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise” will be brought to life by Tracee Ellis Ross, Yara Shahidi, Kelly Rowland, Shonda Rhimes, Misty Copeland and Janelle Monáe. Also on the lineup: The cast of “Schitt’s Creek” will reunite for a musical tribute to teachers; YouTuber Mark Rober and NASA will celebrate from the International Space Station; and the Diamond Bar High School Marching Band, AMDA College of Performing Arts, and Ramón C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts, and others will come together for a rendition of Shawn Mendes’ “Nothing Holding Me Back.”

In addition, the YouTube special will feature a speech and delivered by 25 members of the Class of 2020 from across the U.S.

Viewers can use the Google Meet videoconferencing service (which is now available for free for up to 100 participants) to invite friends and family to a virtual watch party. Instructions on how to set up a Google Meet watch party are available at this link.

In conjunction with the graduation special, YouTube is partnering with Google.org and Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative to create a new fund supporting underrepresented and at-risk youth through Beyond12 and Scholarship America. Companies and organizations that have donated to the “Dear Class of 2020” fund include Course Hero, Box Tops for Education, McDonald’s and Strada Education Network.

The special was produced by Done + Dusted, which also co-produced the May 16 “Graduate Together” event with LeBron James’ SpringHill Entertainment. Additional content for “Dear Class of 2020” was produced by Ideas United and WZRD; talent booking was provided by Cultivated Entertainment, led by CEO Jen Proctor.

Here is the full talent lineup for YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020”:

Commencement Speakers
President Barack Obama ● Michelle Obama ● Beyoncé Knowles-Carter ● BTS ● Lady Gaga ● Robert M. Gates ● Alphabet & Google CEO Sundar Pichai ● Condoleezza Rice ● Malala Yousafzai

Musical Performances
BTS ● Chloe x Halle ● CNCO ● Lizzo & the New York Philharmonic ● Maluma ● Katy Perry ● Megan Thee Stallion ● Performance of “Beautiful Day” produced by Finneas featuring Leon Bridges, Camila Cabello, Noah Cyrus, Ty Dolla $ign, Cynthia Erivo, Khalid, Tove Lo, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, and Ben Platt ● A performance of “Still I Rise” featuring Madison Calley, Misty Copeland, Naya Lovell, Janelle Monáe, Shonda Rhimes, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kelly Rowland, and Yara Shahidi

Guest Appearances
J.J. Abrams ● Ray Allen ● La La Anthony ● Jack Black ● Ian Book ● Tom Brady ● Erika Brown ● Jenna Bush Hager ● Andy Cohen ● Stephen Colbert ● Lana Condor ● Cindy Crawford & Kaia Gerber ● Joseph Gordon Levitt ● DJ D-Nice ● Snoop Dogg & Martha Stewart ● Billie Eilish ● Missy Elliott ● Bill & Melinda Gates ● Evan Goldberg ● Jake Gyllenhaal ● Mark Hamill ● Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson ● Michael B. Jordan ● Colin Jost ● Rupi Kaur ● Courtney Kemp ● Keegan Michael Key ● Alicia Keys ● Jimmy Kimmel ● Jennifer Lopez ● Demi Lovato ● Peyton Manning ● Camila Mendes ● Shawn Mendes ● Hasan Minhaj ● Natalie Morales ● John Mulaney ● Katelyn Ohashi ● Chris Pine ● Antoni Porowski ● Billy Porter ● Seth Rogen ● Phoebe Robinson ● Michael Strahan ● Taylor Swift ● Daisy Ridley ● Justin Timberlake ● Gabrielle Union & Dwayne Wade ● Kerry Washington ● Russell Westbrook ● Russell Wilson & Ciara ● Cast of HBO’s “Euphoria”: Angus Cloud, Jacob Elordi, Barbie Ferreira, Storm Reid, Zendaya ● Cast of “Schitt’s Creek”: Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Dan Levy, Annie Murphy, Jenn Robertson, Emily Hampshire, Noah Reid, Karen Robinson, Sarah Levy, Rizwan Manji ● Cast of “The Simpsons”

YouTube Creators
Jackie Aina ● AsapSCIENCE ● Jade Bowler ● Emma Chamberlain ● Nikkie De Jager ● Dude Perfect ● John Green ● Zane Hijazi & Heath Hussar ● Mr. Kate ● a Khan ● Prajakta Koli ● Liza Koshy ● Margot Lee ● Vanessa & Veronica Merrell ● Sasha Morga ● Mark Rober ● The Try Guys

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