Oprah Winfrey Will Present the Class of 2020 Commencement Address, Thanks to Facebook and Instagram

Oprah Winfrey addresses The USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism Celebrates Commencement on May 11, 2018, in Los Angeles, Calif.
Oprah Winfrey addresses The USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism Celebrates Commencement on May 11, 2018, in Los Angeles, Calif.
Photo: Leon Bennett (Getty Images)

If 2020 was a student and I had to sign their yearbook, I would put “Girl, you’re the worst. Don’t K.I.T.!”


As we weather the misadventures of the Mango Misfit in charge, many have taken to social media to ask former President Barack Obama to come save us. As we navigate the unprecedented and unpredictable chartered waters known as the coronavirus pandemic, that desire has not abated. Most recently, Obama was called upon to save the now-grave upcoming graduation season by volunteering as the official virtual commencement speaker for the entire Class of 2020, who will not be joining together for a traditional ceremony due to social distancing.

No official word yet from Obama’s team, but there is another Big O who has decided to step in and volunteer as tribute—none other than Oprah Winfrey!

Facebook has announced that Oprah will be presenting the commencement address for #Graduation2020: Facebook and Instagram Celebrate the Class of 2020. Other notable celebrities who will join Oprah by giving words of wisdom to graduating high school and college seniors are Lil Nas X, Simone Biles, Awkwafina and Jennifer Garner. Plus, Miley Cyrus will be giving a live performance of her song, “The Climb.”

Look, we all know teens and 20-somethings can be dramatic. But throw in all those hormones and developmental shenanigans with a dash of traumatic pandemic and you have a recipe for implosion. So, yes, it is quite a bummer to have to miss out on something you’ve been looking forward to all year (hell, for four or more years). Tossing up the mortarboard alone in your bedroom after you move your tassel to the left doesn’t quite slap (or give “pomp and circumstance”) the same way it does with hundreds or thousands of your peers.

Though this won’t be the same as in-person activities, the social media platforms are trying to make it as authentic as possible. You know how there are events leading up to graduation, such as prom or senior luncheons? Well, FB and IG will be hosting a week of activities leading up to the big day. Per the press release provided to The Root:

On Monday, May 11, @instagram will kick off daily programming that spotlights iconic senior experiences - from senior superlatives to portrait showcases to senior skip day.

Instagram will also roll out new in-app creative tools and features including a graduation countdown sticker, celebratory sticker pack, new AR effects, and a custom hashtag page for #Graduation2020.

Facebook and Instagram Stories will launch a Graduation theme for Music Stickers – a list of grad-related songs making it easy to find the perfect soundtrack for the graduation moments people share to their stories.

Plus, for graduates and their schools, teachers, friends, and family, the Facebook App will provide resources to help people host their own virtual graduation ceremonies and parties - including a virtual graduation hub, custom filters, family and friends celebrations enabled by Rooms, and more.


#Graduation2020: Facebook and Instagram Celebrate the Class of 2020 will broadcast on Facebook Watch via facebook.com/facebookapp on Friday, May 15. Subsequent individual segments will broadcast via the @instagram account on Instagram, as well as various contributors’ social media accounts.

Congrats to the Class of 2020!

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.



I hate the idea of one person giving “the entire Class of 2020" commencement. One thing I’ve really hated about the internet, YouTube, Instagram, etc, is that instead of thousands of locals who are the biggest fish in their own pond, we have now one giant pond, and one giant fish. One person giving the entire commencement speech means that no one else gets heard. Neither Oprah nor Obama should be speaking to the exclusivity of literally everybody else.