Graduation season is an emotional time of year for many reasons. Students who have worked hard to obtain their designated degree are given the satisfaction of celebrating their newest accolade alongside their village of individuals who helped them manifest it. It is also a time to reflect on the sacrifices and challenges they may have overcame to get to that moment. Knowing that education was a privilege not always afforded to our community, it is especially holds extra sentimental value for Black students.

This year, some of our favorite Black stars were able to engage with the "pomp and circumstance" as they gave keynote addresses and received degrees. Here are a few of them who were honored over the weekend:

Sasha Obama

Sasha Obama— the youngest child of our Forever POTUS and FLOTUS Barack and Michelle Obama— had the opportunity to walk the stage and receive her degree from the University of Southern California. Before graduating with her degree in sociology, the 21-year-old transferred from the University of Michigan.

Morris Chestnut

Morris Chestnut got a taste of #AggiePride over the weekend when he participated in North Carolina A&T's baccalaureate commencement as a keynote speaker. During his address, he encouraged students to "be allergic to mediocrity" and always strive for optimum success.

Jalen Hurts

Star NFL player Jalen Hurts received his Masters of Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma. Prior to this, he transferred to the institution from the University of Alabama in 2019. This accomplishment is an additional notch to his belt of excellence after a standout year and playing in the Super Bowl as part of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Sheryl Lee Ralph

Sheryl Lee Ralph is always the moment but knows how to curate important memories for others as well. Ralph had the opportunity to do this at Rutgers University— her alma mater— where she gave a keynote address. Later during the activities, she received an honorary doctorate of fine arts degree. Speaking from a lifetime's worth of experience, she told graduates to follow their passions instead of money.

Ray Allen

Three decades since his departure from the school, Ray Allen received his bachelor's degree in general studies from the University of Connecticut. In a later interview, he spoke about his graduation being a full circle moment as he initially left UCONN to play in the NBA and had his jersey retired from the institution.


It's about time Usher received his flowers and he is getting them all this year! The "Superstar" singer received an honorary doctorate degree in music from the prestigious Berklee College. In a post on Instagram, Usher started with saying "They call me D-o-c-t-o-r R-a-y-m-o-n-d" and from now on, we just might!