Dear Class of 2020: BTS, the Obamas and Beyonce turn out to celebrate graduating students

'If you make a mistake, that's OK, but we all have a responsibility to hold ourselves accountable in change,' Beyonce said in the virtual ceremony

Beyonce, BTS and Barack and Michelle Obama all addressed the graduating class of 2020 in the virtual YouTube ceremony. YouTube 

Students around the world have had their 2020 graduation ceremonies cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic, but that does not mean their passing out is going without recognition.

On Sunday, June 7, YouTube Originals staged Dear Class of 2020, a virtual commencement ceremony dedicated to students graduating high school, college and university this year. And the video platform called upon a throng of A-list names to speak and perform at the online event.

The four-hour ceremony was hosted by Barack and Michelle Obama, and they were joined by the likes of Camila Cabello, Mariah Carey, BTS, Maluma, Hasan Minhaj and more.

After some powerful words of wisdom from Beyonce (we'll get to those) and Bono, a group of singers came together for the opening performance, a cover of U2's Beautiful Day.

Here, we round up some of the highlights from the ceremony ...

1. The Obamas

You can always rely on Barack and Michelle Obama, the former US president and first lady, for some comfortingly sage advice, and that is exactly what they delivered.

"Now, while you might not get the experience of sweating under your cap and gown in the hot sun, or getting embarrassed by your family yelling out your name when you walk across the stage, you still have all those people with you today, just like they have been with you this whole journey," Michelle told the class of 2020.

"These past few months, you've had to reach even higher. You weren't just adjusting to a virtual classroom, you were helping your teachers adjust their audio ... you weren't just taking your final online, you were making sure your siblings had enough time on the computer to to do their work."

Barack added: "We want you to know that all the work you've put in to get your education is still one of the best investments you can make. You all have done something great, hold your heads high and celebrate."

2. BTS

Closing the show came down to K-pop megastars BTS. The group took over the National Museum of Korea for a 12-minute performance, which will have delighted any graduating members of the Army, as their fans are known.

It was a high-energy performance, with costume changes, all their big hits and slick choreography. They kicked things off with Boy With Luv, followed by Spring Day and Mikrokosmos.

The group also gave a 12-minute speech, in English and Korean, applauding the class of 2020 for making it after a "strange year".

"Please don't be afraid, don't worry yourself. The beginning and the end are connected," Suga said. "One small person can dream the biggest dream, paint the largest picture and make endless possibilities come true. When we meet again I look forward to seeing your dream, your picture and your endless possibilities out in this world."

Their talk ended with the group standing to throw their graduation caps in the air, shouting: "Congratulations class of 2020!"

3. Beyonce 

Beyonce addressed the graduating class with a 10-minute speech, which focused on the Black Lives Matter protests that have broken out globally in the wake of George Floyd's death in police custody.

Whatever the world looks like in 10 years or 20 years part of that is up to you. Let this moment push you to improve yourself in all areas of your life

"Congratulations to the class of 2020," she opened with. "You have arrived here in the middle of a global crisis, a racial pandemic and worldwide expression of outrage at the senseless killing of yet another unarmed black human being.

"And you still made it, we're so proud of you. Thank you for using your collective voice and letting the world know that black lives matter.

"We've seen the power of the collective, we've seen what happens when we join for the same cause. Please continue to be the voice for the voiceless," she said. "Never forget, we can disagree in a way that's productive to arrive at decision that fosters real change.

"If you make a mistake, that's OK, too," she goes on to say. "But we all have a responsibility to hold ourselves accountable in change.

"Whatever the world looks like in 10 years or 20 years, part of that is up to you. I urge you to let this current moment push you to improve yourself in all areas of your life."

4. Lizzo teaming up with the NY Philharmonic 

Lizzo, the first lady of flautists, partnered up with the NY Philharmonic for a more modern take on the classic Pomp and Circumstance graduation marching song.

The clip was edited to show footage of young black students who had turned up to Black Lives Matter protests in their graduation caps and gowns.

5. The 'Schitt's Creek' cast 

It wasn't all serious and motivational speeches, there was room for a little comedy, too. The Schitt's Creek cast reunited by video call, "at the behest of Michelle and Barack".

Not only did the Rose family bring plenty of their trademark laughs into their dysfunctional Zoom call, they brought together the show's wider cast to sing a thank you song to teachers, a rendition of Mariah Carey's Hero.

The entire clip is worth a watch for the laughs, but if you want to skip to the magic, it's at 4.23 minutes, when Carey herself joins the call, much to the delight of the characters. Yes, Mariah does have a wind machine for her Zoom calls.

Watch the full Dear Class of 2020 ceremony here: