Diddy motivates the young graduates kf Howard University as they are about to embark on a new journey. Here is the transcript of Diddy’s commencement speech (As stated by his website Revolt TV):
“Hard work and big dreams are the fruits of life. Drawing from some of his biggest lessons learned, including the pivotal points in his life, REVOLT Chairman Sean Combs urged the 2014 Howard University graduating class to not just pursue their dreams but, make it a reality. “I don’t want you to dream,” he said. “I want you to do.”
Cleaning up nice for the momentous occasion—donning a clean, cream-colored suit while donning his signature shades, Mr. Combs scribed a new verse in the history books this morning (May 10) on The Yard of his alma mater, as he delivered the renowned institution’s 146th commencement address. The speech spanned from his Combs’ humble beginnings as a young Harlem native raised by a single mother to entering Howard U for the first time and going on to make the impossible possible. The speech drew a parallel between the obstacles encountered growing up in that single parent household to the lessons learned along the way.
“My world was changed here on Howard. I was raised by a single mother. My dad, Mr. Melvin Combs, died when I was three,” reflected Combs. “My mom told he passed away in a car accident but something about that didn’t feel right. So I looked back and searched articles and found out that he had been murdered in a drug deal gone bad. Right there in that [Howard] in that library, I realized there’s nothing greater than a mother’s love and desire to protect her child. Nothing. I also decided that I would live my life in a way to make her proud. I decided to embrace the entrepreneurship of my father, but in a honest way, in a legal way by earning, scraping, working harder, believing in myself and most importantly making the most of the blessings that God blessed me with.”
The momentous occasion also added another new name to Combs’ long list of epithets, after receiving an honorary degree in humanities from the institution. Soaking in the impactful moment, Puff rejoiced over the honor telling the graduates and staff, “Only this family can take one of its son, whose the only one that had three names changes, and gives him a fourth: Dr. Combs.”
Interim Howard President Wayne Frederick shared the excitment before the event, saying “We are honored to have Mr. Combs serve as our speaker. He sat in classrooms where our students sit, walked ‘The Yard,’ and like many students, his entrepreneurial spirit was sparked at Howard.”
Other honorees during the ceremony were iconic CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, PepsiCo CEP Indra Nooyi, jazz legend Benny Golson, and surgeon Clive Callender. The five names add to Howard graduation illustrious cast of speakers throughout the years, which include Oprah Winfrey, Colin Powell, Hilary Clinton, and Maya Angelou.
The newly appointed Dr. Combs touched on a number of other topics during the inspirational speech. Of course The Notorious B.I.G. was also quoted, which segued into Puff describing his experience arriving at Howard for the first time. “It was a dream, I used to read word up magazines, and then I went and enrolled into Howard University, he said. “I remember walking up that hill, passing ‘The Quad’ through the main gate and making a right into The Yard and my mind was blown. I never heard so many accents, seen so many beautiful, intelligent women in the world.” For the latter, he issued a real time hashtag (#beclear).
But everything wasn’t all about Combs and his experiences. He also took time to contront the graduating class about the road ahead of them. “Do you know how powerful you are?” he asked. He also wasn’t shy about admitting his early exit from the institution, and with that Puff kept it 100% honest about his time and experiences at the campus that helped him become the person he is today. Bringing up the power of the Howard community and the family of supporters there that stuck with him through the years and helped him to succeed, he reminded the class, “Remember the power of this Howard family who always has your back.”
Inspriring, uplifting, and honest, Dr. Combs’ speech definitely struck a chord with the graduates, staff and the outpouring of supporters on Twitter, which was translated through the hastag: #DiddySpeechHU.
The last part of his speech left attendees with a message about turning those dreams and aspirations into reality and memories. “Close your eyes and dream, Combs said. “Then open your eyes and see.”
As the great Notorious B.I.G. once declared, “the sky is the limit.”
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