During New York University’s 2017 commencement, Pharrell Williams gave an inspirational commencement address in which he specifically spoke about women’s rights.
Addressing Tisch School of the Arts graduates after receiving his own doctorate of fine arts from the school, Williams praised the students gathered at Yankee Stadium for pushing the limits of what is possible and for continuing to strive to make the world a better place.
“Your generation is unraveling deeply entrenched laws, principals, and misguided values that have held women back for far too long and, therefore, have held us all back.” he said. “Imagine the possibilities when women are not held back. The world that you will live in that will be a lot better. This is the first generation that navigates with the security and confidence to treat women as equals.”
Williams, 44, was named NYU’s School of the Arts “artist in residence” back in 2015. During commencement, Dean Allyson Green of Tisch had high praise for Williams and called him a “shining example.”
“From his outstanding creative work to his commitment to encouraging positive change in realms of educating youth and protecting the planet, he is a shining example of the infinite possibilities the world holds for all our students as they embark on their post-college careers,” she said.