The Obamas to headline YouTube virtual graduation ceremony with BTS, Lady Gaga and more

The Obamas to headline YouTube virtual graduation ceremony with BTS, Lady Gaga and more

YouTube is pumping up 2020 virtual pomp-and-circumstance circuit with a video graduation ceremony, including commencement addresses delivered by former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.

YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” original special will feature other celebs and notable names including BTS, Lady Gaga and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The festival-style lineup will feature talks on traditional graduation-day themes mixed in with music performances.

The multihour event premieres Saturday, June 6, on the YouTube Originals channel (at this link) and YouTube’s Learn@Home site (

Headlining “Dear Class of 2020” are President Obama and Michelle Obama, who will each deliver individual commencement speeches — and a joint message — to graduates. Additionally, Mrs. Obama’s Reach Higher initiative will host a full hour of content to kick off the celebration.

Commencement speakers include 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. BTS and others will perform at a virtual grad night after-party.

“Dear Class of 2020” also will include special appearances by Alicia Keys, Kelly Rowland, Kerry Washington, Chloe x Halle, Zendaya, and YouTube creators Jackie Aina, AsapSCIENCE, Dude Perfect, Mr. Kate, and The Try Guys.

YouTube’s full schedule of commencement events will be available on the Learn@Home site beginning on May 17. Graduates can also set a reminder for the show and sign their name on the Dear Class of 2020 Shout Out Board at

YouTube is partnering with Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative, Born This Way Foundation, Malala Fund, NBC’s “Today,” and Ideas United to showcase student stories and feature graduates around the world, including a crowd-sourced commencement speech.

“Graduation is a tradition that students and families look forward to and with the current state of the world, YouTube is lending some inspiration in the form of a virtual commencement,” said Susanne Daniels, global head of content for YouTube. “We hope bringing together noteworthy, influential speakers along with performances from some of their favorite artists will provide encouragement for the students who have worked so hard to get here.”

The special is being produced by Done and Dusted. Overseeing the project for YouTube are Nadine Zylstra, head of learning for YouTube Originals along with Danny Zaccagnino, Laurel Stier, Lauren Vrazilek, and Zoe Di Stefano on the learning development team.

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