Wif it is by a song which celebrates black entrepreneurship or an initiative designed to uplift underserved youth, music visionary Pharrell williams has continually used his platform to inspire, and the Virginia native was recently honored by an HBCU. According to The Virginian-Pilot, he received an honorary doctorate from Norfolk State University.
Williams was the opening speaker at the institution’s fall graduation ceremony. The Virginia Beach native spoke to nearly 400 graduates and reflected on the impact and influence of the historically black university and the city of Norfolk during his trip. He explained how the sounds of the school marching band moved him in his youth and how, although he did not attend HBCU, he testified to the strong sense of community that existed within school. Williams also imparted words of wisdom to the students as they prepare to embark on the next chapter in their lives; stressing the importance of using the knowledge they have gained at the institution to uplift the local community.
âI didn’t attend Norfolk State, but I was still there,â he said during his opening speech. âI am honored to have incorporated this part of my job, my story and still today I look forward to seeing how far you amazing and awesome Norfolk State graduatesâ¦ how far you will go. . Norfolk will not be the city that limits the potential of its inhabitants, but on the contrary, it will nourish them. The mega-producer and songwriter was also named an honorary member of the school’s marching band.
News of the Grammy-winning musical artist’s honorary degree comes months after he unveiled his plans to build a private school for low-income students in the town of Norfolk, known as Yellowhab. The school was created to address socio-economic inequalities within the education system. âIf the system is fixed and unfair then it has to be broken,â Williams said. âWe don’t want cascade learning where so many children fall behind; we want tailor-made learning designed for each child, where the things that make a child different are the same things that will make a child rise and fly.
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