Update (May 8): Kane Brown, Lana Condor, David Dobrik, Dolan Twins, Karol G, Liza Koshy, Maren Morris, National Teacher of the Year Rodney Robinson, Olivia Wilde, and Zendaya have joined the lineup.
What do you do when everyone’s high school graduation is canceled because of coronavirus? If you’re NBA superstar LeBron James, you pull together some huge stars to throw the biggest, baddest virtual graduation party ever.
The LeBron James Family Foundation announced on Wednesday (April 29) that it is paying tribute to the class of 2020 with a one-hour multimedia event called Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020.
The May 16 special will air at 8:00 p.m. ET simultaneously on NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox — as well as on the streaming platforms Complex Networks, Facebook app, Instagram, People TV, Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube — with appearances by Bad Bunny, Charli D’Amelio, Dixie D’Amelio, Chika, YBN Cordae, Loren Gray, H.E.R., the Jonas Brothers, Brandan Bmike Odums, Ben Platt, Henry Platt, Jonah Platt, Megan Rapinoe, Yara Shahidi, Lena Waithe, Pharrell Williams, Malala Yousafzai and many more.
Working with the XQ Institute and The Entertainment Industry Foundation, the show will allow the companies to honor the more than three million high school seniors who will miss out on the annual rite of passage due to the national shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. “We learned early on in our work with students and families in Akron that education is so much more than academics,” said James in a statement.
“It’s about a shared experience, a journey we’re all on together—students, parents, educators, community members, and everyone around them. With that not being possible right now, we’ve been working to find ways to help families get through this really difficult time. These students have worked incredibly hard for this and there’s no way we can let that go unrecognized. While this won’t be the graduation experience they were supposed to get, we hope we can still give them something special because they deserve it.”
The commercial-free show will be curated by high school students and educators from across the country, with support from the American Federation of Teachers, highlighted by a collection of commencement addresses, celebrity performances and inspirational vignettes.
Students, educators, and families are encouraged to submit their videos and photos online for consideration to be included in the telecast using #GraduateTogether. Artist JR is also inviting seniors to share their portraits for a national virtual yearbook celebrating the entire Class of 2020. Local TV stations will feature custom breakaways to celebrate the achievements of high school students in their communities.
Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020 will be broadcast commercial-free on May 16 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. The show is being produced by Done + Dusted and SpringHill Entertainment.