Singer and songwriter Pharrell Williams delivered a powerful commencement speech at New York University’s graduation ceremony last week, and part of his speech addressed the fight for women’s rights directly.
“We need to lift up our women,” Williams asserted to cheers and applause from his audience. “Imagine the possibilities when we remove imbalance from the ether, because it’s unbalanced right now. Imagine the possibilities when women are not held back. The world that you will live in that will be a lot better.”
He went on to address the graduating class, applauding their generation for being trailblazers in the fight for equality and for struggling to break free from long-standing societal prejudices.
“Your generation is unraveling deeply entrenched laws, principles, and misguided values that have held women back for far too long and, therefore, have held us all back, the human race,” he explained. “This is the first generation that navigates with the security and confidence to treat women as equals.”
Williams received his Doctor of Fine Arts degree, and he was a natural pick to deliver the speech as he is an Artist in Residence at Tisch School of the Arts, HelloGiggles reports.
Watch the entire commencement speech below; the segment about women’s rights begins around 5:08.