Pharrell Williams To NYU Graduates: "We Need To Lift Up Women"

The award winning creative encouraged the graduating class of 2017 to push for the equality of women. 

Pharrell Williams has always been an advocate for women's rights and his commencement speech to the NYU class of 2017 was no different, as he shared elements equality at their graduation ceremony.

The Grammy-winning creative received a Doctor of Fine Arts degree and spoke to the graduates on Wednesday (May 18). The "Happy" artist made a splash at the institution when he was an Artist in Residence at Tisch last year. Speaking to the group at Yankee Stadium, Williams praised Generation Z for turning the world on its head when it comes to social justice and pushing the limits of innovation in both the creative and technical channels. He also called for equality of women.

"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."

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Dean Allyson Green of Tisch, called the composer a "shining example" for young people. “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.

Other inspirational leaders who received doctorates at the ceremony included Thomas R. Frieden, most recent head of the Centers for Disease Control; Nobel Prize Winning Chemist Jean-Marie Pierre Lehn; Senator Barbara A. Mikulski; Author Melissa V. Harris-Perry; Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords; and NASA astronaut Mark Kelly.

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Check out Williams' speech above.

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Exclusive: Omari Hardwick Believes Jay-Z's NFL Deal Can Take Kaepernick's Mission To New Heights

The conversation around Jay-Z's NFL deal has been heard from newsrooms to barbershops. While there are many perspectives to take into consideration, Omari Hardwick believes we should consider what Mr. Shawn Carter's move can do to bring Colin Kaepernick's mission to the next level.

Speaking Swaggy Sie's SiriusXM show The Heat Wave on SiriusXM's The Heat this week, the Power star opened up about the parallels of activism and where Jay stands with his decision to partner with the organization.

"Jay-Z's point which I really understand is that of 'How how long do we simply pledge in a hazing way of taking a knee and there not being necessary productivity from it or not a conclusion from it (when is there ever conclusion from it) or steps to be closer to a conclusion?'" Hardwick said. The actor, who is a friend of the rap icon, says Jay's deal can help broker new opportunities for people of color.

As previously reported, Jay's deal with the NFL provides him with the title of "live music entertainment strategist" which includes a partnership with Roc Nation and the businessman consulting on entertainment, specifically the Super Bowl halftime show, and contributing to the league’s activism campaign, Inspire Change. Other social-justice efforts were left unspecified but as mixed reviews rolled in, it was later rumored that Jay was also looking to take ownership of an NFL team.

Supporters of Kaepernick have slammed Jay for his decision but Hardwick believes there's more to be discovered.

"With Jay-Z, with all of his power, all of that with it (50 would be the same way) to not act on it and go, 'Listen Goddell, listen, Commissioner and team, being from the hood and now going to the heights of life that I made it to, these are some steps I think could activate that which Kaepernick and others like him want to activate as opposed to simply going, 'I'm protesting.'"

"My father says this, 'When the gun sounded, we of brown color knew what direction to run. If the gun sounds now, we'd be running into each other,'" he added.

"If [Jay's] view is of that, it is arrogant to assume people without that view would understand what Jay-Z is always doing. Jay-Z's view and his description of being past that don't necessarily mean that it's understandable by the people who are not at the same of view of that, but he's not forgetting them. His objective is to get the lowest common denominator of those who are brown to a better place. Half the league if not more than half the league is brown."

When it comes to Kaepernick, the actor says it's time for the athlete to play football again. "I feel like Kaepernick has to be given some sunshine in terms of playing ball," he said. "He's still young. You're telling me someone who is second or third-string player out there that shouldn't be second or third-string? Definitely not over Kaepernick."

Watch the interview below.

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Lil Uzi Vert Reveals That His Grandmother Suffered A Debilitating Stroke

From the outside looking in, it may appear that Lil Uzi Vert is living the good life, but the 25-year-old Philly native admitted that he has been masking his pain. In a string of tweets posted Thursday (Aug. 22), Uzi revealed that his beloved grandma was on her way home after spending “months” in the hospital following a stroke and more health struggles.

“I’m scared excited happy and sad but mostly thankful,” he tweeted. “Today my grandma is coming home she was in the hospital and rehab for months she cannot walk. She cannot talk all the way but I feel her [getting] better by the second.

“My grandma been in the hospital for MONTHS man, she had a tumor over her eye the [doctors] removed half of it when she finally woke she had a stroke on her entire left side and cannot move it,” Uzi continued before revealing that his grandmother raised him. In another tweet, Uzi confessed to “flexing so hard and buying the world because deep down I’m hurt.”

He went on to explain keeping the family matter quiet from his millions of fans. “I know you beautiful ladies and successful gentlemen [probably] saying ‘he should of been told us' but I never been threw this I needed privacy I needed Family comfort because I just didn’t understand.”

Read his emotional tweets below.

I love you grandma you got this ♥️

— Uzi London 🌎☄️💕® (@LILUZIVERT) August 22, 2019

I’m scared excited happy and sad but mostly thankful. So Today my Grandma is coming home she was in the hospital and rehab for months she cannot walk. She cannot talk all the way but I feel her gettin better by the second ♥️

— Uzi London 🌎☄️💕® (@LILUZIVERT) August 22, 2019

My grandma been in the hospital for MONTHS man she had a tumor over her eye the Doctors removed half of it when she finally woke she had a stroke on her entire left side and cannot move it . IF YOU DONT KNOW THATS WHO RAISE ME

I love my grandma more than Clothes

— Uzi London 🌎☄️💕® (@LILUZIVERT) August 22, 2019

I Know you beautiful ladies and successful gentlemen prolly saying

He Should Of Been Told Us but I never been threw this I needed privacy I needed Family comfort because I just didn’t understand.

— Uzi London 🌎☄️💕® (@LILUZIVERT) August 22, 2019

I Been Flexing So Hard And Buying The World 🌍 Because Deep Down I’m Hurt ......

— Uzi London 🌎☄️💕® (@LILUZIVERT) August 22, 2019

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Dave Chappelle To Reportedly Host Ohio Block Party Honoring Victims Of Mass Shooting

Dave Chappelle will reportedly be helping to raise the spirits of residents in Dayton, Ohio following a mass shooting earlier this month. Chappelle is set to host a free block party in the city this weekend, Page Six reports.

The “Gem City Shine” benefit concert will be held in the city’s Oregon District, and is aimed at is honoring “the lives lost and to reclaim the community’s favorite places to shop, dine and enjoy time with family and friends,” according to a Facebook events page. Tickets are free but are only available to residents of Dayton and surrounding areas. The 45-year-old comedian has lived in Ohio for several years with his wife, Elaine, and their three children.

On Aug. 4, a gunman opened fire outside of a bar in the Oregon District, killing 10 people and injuring 17 others. Additional victims were hit by police bullets. In total, more than two dozen people were left injured. The gunman was killed by authorities.

“Gem City Shine” goes down Sunday (Aug. 25) from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m.

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