For many students of color striving for higher education, the goal is to pay homage to those who have paved the way for us. In his commencement speech for Dillard University‘s Class of 2018, Chance the Rapper acknowledges exactly that.
Chance begins by talking about what it means to live in your greatness without fear, and going forth into the world with the intentions of being greater than all of those who came before us. He follows this up by telling everyone that Beyoncé is a better performer than Michael Jackson. While he knew that the statement would lead to controversy, he elaborated and defended it in the rest of his arguments.
“The highest form of respect we can pay to the people who came before us, the people who sacrificed for us and gave us everything, is to be better than them,” he said. “Sometimes by immortalizing someone and their accomplishments, we immobilize them.”
The difference between goodness and greatness is going beyond.
One of the accomplishments that Chance hopes to achieve soon is going back to school to complete his degree. Before receiving the opportunity to speak at Dillard’s graduation, he had been looking into different undergraduate programs, which was something he wasn’t able to do right after high school. After finding out he’d be receiving a Doctorate from the university, Chance was motivated to believe higher education could be within his grasp.
“The difference between goodness and greatness is going beyond. You have to push forward and surpass their greatness in order to pay homage to their struggle,” Chance said in his speech.
Check out some more words of wisdom from the Chicago rapper and what Dillard graduates had to say about the speech in the exclusive video above.