Janelle Monae To Deliver Dillard University 2017 Commencement Speech

Photo Credit: Hopper Stone

Dillard University will be setting a spark at their 2017 Commencement ceremony as the Electric Lady herself, Janelle Monáe has been confirmed as the Commencement speaker!

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The multi-Grammy nominated singer-songwriter, performer, producer and CoverGirl spokesperson has recently made waves as an actor in Hollywood this past award season, double-dipping in Academy Award nominated Hidden Figures and big Academy Award winner Moonlight. She is also known for her activism, speaking out against police brutality, raising money for the Flint, Michigan water crisis, and recently launching Fem the Future to advance awareness, inclusion and opportunities for those who identify as women through music, arts, mentorship and education. In January, after the most recent presidential election, she spoke and performed at the Women's March on Washington that drew a record-breaking crowd.

Hidden Figures, in particular, inspired her advocacy for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) research and advancement. During the press tour for the award-winning film Monáe spoke with Teen Vogue and urged the importance of images on-screen noting, “I hope we see more girls from all backgrounds working in STEM [science, technology, engineering, mathematics] as a result of it being on-screen.”

“Janelle Monáe’s significant accomplishments in music and particularly, film and STEM, both signature programs here at Dillard, along with her activism made her the ideal person to deliver a timely message to our graduates,” President Walter M. Kimbrough, Ph.D., said. “I believe this is her first commencement speech and we are very excited to see this day come.”

Given her advocacy for STEM, the arts, and social justice, she is sure to reach every bit of the more than 160 undergraduates being honored at the ceremony with her words.

Dillard’s 81st Commencement will be held on Saturday, May 13, at 8 a.m.

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Tonja Renée Stidhum is a writer/director living in Los Angeles by way of Chicago. She is the co-host of the movie review podcast, Cinema Bun Podcast. She is made of sugar and spice and everything rice... with the uncanny ability to make a Disney/Pixar reference in the same sentence as a double entendre. You can follow her on Twitter @EmbraceTheJ, on Facebook FB.com/tstidhum, and Instagram @embracethej. You can find more of her work on her About Me page, https://about.me/tonjareneestidhum.

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