by TV One Staff
May 9, 2016
On a “one-minute-its-rainy-and-cold-and-the-next-minute-its-scorching-hot” Saturday, Barack Obama, the first African-American President of the United States delivered a speech and received an honorary Doctor of Science degree at Howard University’s 148th commencement. Renowned actress, Cicely Tyson, also left Howard students with an encouraging word about leadership before students were sent out to change the world.
Of course, we had the hookup (we have our plugs, too) and were able to attend to see the leader of the free world speak. Here are a few memorable moments:
1. Obama calls out the Howard Dorms: Howard students love to #Represent and when they’re not defending the best HBCU, they’re showing pride for their home dorms. Not only did Barack Obama know the H-U chant (“You Know!”), he knew about the dorms and the student pride that went with each, even saying R.I.P to the now-closed (party) dorm, Meridian.
2. Obama calls out a Howard Student:
“There’s a young woman named Ciearra Jefferson, who’s graduating with you. And I’m just going to use her as an example. I hope you don’t mind, Ciearra. Ciearra grew up in Detroit and was raised by a poor single mom who worked seven days a week in an auto plant. And for a time, her family found themselves without a place to call home. They bounced around between friends and family who might take them in. By her senior year, Ciearra was up at 5:00 am every day, juggling homework, extracurricular activities, volunteering, all while taking care of her little sister. But she knew that education was her ticket to a better life. So she never gave up. Pushed herself to excel. This daughter of a single mom who works on the assembly line turned down a full scholarship to Harvard to come to Howard.“
3. Obama shouts out Beyoncé:
“In my inaugural address, I remarked that just 60 years earlier, my father might not have been served in a D.C. restaurant — at least not certain of them. There were no black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Very few black judges. Shoot, as Larry Wilmore pointed out last week, a lot of folks didn’t even think blacks had the tools to be a quarterback. Today, former Bull Michael Jordan isn’t just the greatest basketball player of all time — he owns the team. (Laughter.) When I was graduating, the main black hero on TV was Mr. T. (Laughter.) Rap and hip hop were counterculture, underground. Now, Shonda Rhimes owns Thursday night, and Beyoncé runs the world. We’re no longer only entertainers, we’re producers, studio executives. No longer small business owners — we’re CEOs, we’re mayors, representatives, Presidents of the United States.“
See Obama’s full Howard University Commencement Speech: