{Video} Janelle Monae Delivers First Ever Commencement Speech ‘Choose Freedom Over Fear’ at Dillard University

Janelle Monae gave words of wisdom and encouragement on Saturday, May 13 as a  first-time commencement speaker at the 81st commencement at Dillard University.

According to Nola.com, throughout the uplifting speech, the multi-talented star shared three secrets to life with 166 graduates ready to take on the world!

“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.

Later during the ceremony, Monae was also awarded an honorary Doctorate degree along with entrepreneur Dorothy Perrault, Hyatt Regency New Orleans general manager Michael O. Smith and, posthumously, civil rights lawyer Lolis Edward Elie.

“I never thought that I would see the day … when I would be getting an honorary degree,” Monae said.

Monae expressed her appreciation of the faculty, staff, students and supporters of Dillard University and higher education overall.

She told the audience although, she took another route and did not graduate from college, she commends all of the graduates for going after what they love and receiving a higher education.


“I celebrate you all,” she said.

After attending American Musical and Dramatic Academy Monae and playing the NASA physicist, Mary Jackson, in the Oscar-nominated “Hidden Figures” earlier this year, she accepted the university’s invitation to address the graduates.

“It’s important that I continue to push their legacy forward,” she said of Jackson and her colleagues, Dorothy Vaughn and Katherine Johnson, the “Hidden Figures” played by Octavia Spencer and Taraji P. Henson, respectively.

She told the graduates, “It is our responsibility to sustain the future now, it’s in our hands,  it’s really up to us.”




E'Vonne Gipson60 Posts

Follow E'Vonne: Instagram: @forever_evonne Twitter: @EVonneGipson SC: @byevonnegipson E'Vonne Gipson is an award winning journalist from Missouri City, TX. She is a graduate of Grambling State University where she received a B.A. degree in Mass Communication with a concentration in journalism and public relations. Gipson has written for several publications including Sheen Magazine, HBCU Buzz, The Black Beat, The News-Star, The Ruston Daily Leader, JubileeMag.com, and Houston Style Magazine. She is a former business reporting intern at Abilene Reporter-News in Abilene, TX and a current social media intern for MC Lyte's Hip Hop Sisters Network. She first began her journalism career writing for her school's newspaper "The Gramblinite". In 2016, Gipson worked with the Web Department at Houston television station, KHOU-11 TV where she gained professional photography and social media skills. Gipson is currently a producer at USA Today Network newspaper, The News-Star in Monroe. She is a member of The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.


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