Chance The Rapper praised Beyonce during his commencement speech at New Orleans’ Dillard University.
The 25-year-old Chicago-born musician, who was receiving an honorary degree for his philanthropy and continued service to the youth, discussed the Lemonade hitmaker’s now iconic Coachella set last month
“With that performance, I realized that greatness can never be stagnant,” he said in the speech and told graduates they needed to work to “eclipse” their musical heroes, and explained that Beyonce’s set – dubbed Beychella – was the moment she surpassed one of Chance’s musical heroes, Michael Jackson.
“I realized that all of us have a responsibility to be greater than the people who came before us. We have a responsibility to be not as good as them or live up to their example, but to actually surpass them, even when it seems scary. We have to overcome that fear and be greater than our role models,” Chance continued. “We have to erase the fear and stigma behind eclipsing our heroes.”
“Beyoncé had Mike (Michael Jackson). Mike didn’t have Mike. Mike had James Brown. James Brown had Cab Calloway, and so on and so on,” he explained. “Right now, the greatest performer who ever lived might very well be in this audience. And that person has something Beyonce never had. They got Beyonce… Living up to your heroes is amazing, but it’s not good enough.
“The difference between goodness and greatness is going beyond,” he added to wild applause.
Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough, the president of the historically black college in Louisiana, praised the “Coloring Book” hitmaker’s speech in a statement.
“The activism is a bonus with Chance. I thought he made for a great commencement speaker because of his spirit of being entrepreneurial and authentic. But his civic engagement, including encouraging people to vote and willingness to speak out on issues, like his recent opposition to a Heineken ad, are just as paramount,” he said.