Graduation season is quickly approaching, and the announcement of commencement speakers are continuing to roll in with prominent African American entertainers, political figures, and journalists making the list. Whether the announcement of their anticipated speeches received overwhelming support or lots of backlash, we’ve rounded up a list of 13 black speakers whose graduation speeches we’re looking forward to hearing this year.
Colin Powell: Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is set to deliver the commencement speech at High Point University.
Sean “P. Diddy” Combs: Entertainment mogul Sean Combs is set to speak at his alma mater Howard University.
President Barack Obama: The president will be traveling to the west coast to deliver a commencement speech at the University of California, Irvine.
First Lady Michelle Obama: FLOTUS will be traveling to New Orleans to speak to the HBCU gradates at Dillard University.
John Lewis: Congressman John Lews is the selected commencement speaker at Emory University.
Gwen Ifill: Journalist and author Gwen Ifill will deliver the commencement speech at St. Mary’s College, Maryland.
Forest Whitaker: Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker will speak at Miami University.
John Legend: Grammy artist John Legend will visit his old stomping grounds and speak at the University of Pennsylvania.
Jeh Johnson: Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson will deliver the commencement speech for Morehouse College.
Shonda Rhimes: Television producer, director and screenwriter Shonda Rhimes will be returning to her alma mater, Dartmouth College, to speak at this year’s commencement.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick: Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will be the graduation speaker at University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Soledad O’Brien: Journalist Soledad O’Brien will deliver this year’s commencement speech to the graduating ladies at Spelman College.
T.J. Holmes: Journalist T.J. Holmes will speak to this year’s graduating class at Clark Atlanta University.