With the high school graduating class of 2020 facing stay-at-home orders that make in-person graduations a near impossibility, LeBron James decided to give seniors the send-off they deserve with help from some very famous friends.
On Saturday (May 16), James hosted “Graduate Together,” a first-of-its-kind live streamed commencement ceremony, where stars from around the world stopped in to offer their congratulations to the class of 2020.
From some stunning musical performances to a rousing commencement speech from Barack Obama, here are five key highlights from “Graduate Together.”
Dua Lipa offers a pep rally fantasy with “Break Your Heart” performance
For the show’s big opener, pop superstar Dua Lipa made an appearance to perform her latest single, “Break My Heart.” Dancing against a color-changing backdrop, the star was also joined by some high school seniors, ranging from cheerleaders to color guard to the marching band, to help make everyone watching feel like they were back in their gymnasium, getting pumped at a pep rally.
Ben Platt recruits his brothers for a medley of graduation ceremonies’ most-played songs
Everyone knows those same few songs that you can expect to hear at least one of at your graduation ceremony. Lucky for the class of 2o20, Ben Platt and his brothers, Henry and Jonah, decided to put them all together into one major mashup. Starting off a capella and gradually adding in more music, the trio paid tribute to songs like Maroon 5’s “Memories,” Vitamin C’s “Graduation,” Alphaville’s “Forever Young,” Green Day’s “Good Riddance” and many more.
H.E.R. gets real with the class of 2020 during “Sometimes”
For her performance, it’s fitting that H.E.R. chose to perform her single “Sometimes” — the song’s lyrics immediately begin with “sometimes it don’t go your way,” as if they were meant for this year’s graduating class. Performing with a face-masked band, H.E.R. made clear through her emotive performance that, even though things may not be ideal for seniors everywhere, things will change eventually, for the better.
Jonas Brothers & Karol G start the party with “X” performance
In the closing performance of the evening, the Jonas Brothers offered their congratulations before declaring “let’s party” and kicking off into a live performance of their brand-new single, “X.” Members of the class of 2020 appeared on video as the brothers’ personal backup dance crew before Karol G showed up to give a stunning performance of her verse on the infectious new pop single. The summery track served as the perfect way to end a relatively somber evening — with some well-earned fun.
Barack Obama offers a message of hope to the graduates
The major highlight of the evening came when former President Barack Obama gave his official commencement address to the graduating high school class. The president was at times funny, at times somber, but most importantly, hopeful for the future, which he placed in the hands of the graduates. “You know all those adults that you used to think were in charge and knew what they were doing? Turns out, they don’t have all the answers,” he remarked. “Most of them aren’t even asking the right questions. So, if the world is going to get better, it’s going to be up to you.”
After offering his advice to the class, which focused on the importance of community and compassion, the president let the graduates know that he wasn’t worried about them — he was excited to watch them achieve. “The truth is, you don’t need us to tell you what to do, because in so many ways, you’ve already started to lead.”