Okay Dr. Williams! – This weekend, super producer Pharrell Williams received an honorary doctorate from Norfolk State University after he gave the commencement speech to the graduating fall class.
“I didn’t attend Norfolk State, but I was always present,” Williams said. “I am honored to have made this part of my work, my story and still today, I can’t wait to see how far you amazing, impressive graduates of Norfolk State ... how far you’ll go.”
He was also named an honorary member of the school’s marching band, an honor that brought the ‘Happy’ singer to shed a few happy tears, according to the Associated Press.
As a Virginia Beach High School graduate, Williams reflected on his memories of the HBCU band.
‘I wanted to be able to make people feel the way Norfolk State’s band made me feel,’ he said.
During his speech, Williams took time to acknowledge the ways in which the city of Norfolk recognizes and respects past and local heroes.
“Norfolk will not be the city that limits its peoples’ own potential, but instead, it will feed it,” he stated. He also urged graduates to patronize local businesses as a way of giving back, and to refrain from calling themselves minorities.
“We are the emerging majority,” he said. “Don’t wait until Election Day. Vote with your wallets today, tomorrow and the next day.”
Aside from the inspirational words offered this weekend, we’re also just happy to see Pharrell back in Virginia. His relationship with the city of Virginia Beach took a deep dive in the spring after his cousin was shot by police. It was only two weeks ago that a grand jury made the determination that the killing of Williams’ cousin was just. In response to the handling of the investigation, the producer is refusing to bring back his annual music festival, Something In The Water, to the city’s beachfront. Neither officer present at the shooting had their body cameras turned on.
We’re pleased to see a sunnier side developing for the man who keeps our heads nodding through the decades.