LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - 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 Beyonce, and leaders including President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama — will now kick off on Sunday, June 7, at noon PT.
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 Beyonce Knowles-Carter.
President Obama’s keynote address will be featured in the fourth hour of the special (4-5 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 (5 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 Monae. 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 Ramon 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.
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.