New Orleans, LA – Chance The Rapper solidified his lifetime membership in the Beyhive during his commencement speech at Dillard University. While speaking to the college graduates on Saturday (May 12), Lil Chano declared that Beyoncé’s acclaimed set at Coachella 2018 had surpassed all of Michael Jackson’s legendary performances.
“Beyoncé’s performance was better than any performance Michael Jackson ever did,” he said, recognizing some people wouldn’t like his opinion. “That woman, better than Mike. Black woman, better than Mike. I said it! I understand that’s upsetting to a few people here, probably … We have to erase the fear and stigma behind eclipsing our heroes.”
Before he made the bold statement, Chance recounted his adoration for Jackson. He then spoke glowingly about the Coachella performance.
“Generations of little black kids have been mesmerized before the TV screen or YouTube, watching as Mike seemed to do the impossible. One of those little black kids would grow up to be someone especially amazing,” he said. “She would do more than just copy Mike. She would surpass him. And now, I’m going to tell you about the greatest performance put on by the greatest performer of all time, and it wasn’t Mike.”
He continued, “Beyoncé … in real time, in one fell swoop, she eclipsed every Grammy performance, every Super Bowl halftime show, every talent show. Literally, any performance from the beginning of time, in contrast, became outdated and obsolete. This was Coachella.”
Chance’s take was part of a larger point about how the next generation should always strive to be better than the one that came before it.
“I realized that all of us have a responsibility to be greater than the people who came before us,” he said. “We have a responsibility to be not as good as them or live up to their example, but to actually surpass them, even when it seems scary. We have to overcome that fear and be greater than our role models. We have to erase the fear and stigma behind eclipsing our heroes.”
To this point, Beyoncé’s show was an eye-opening moment for Chance.
“With that performance, I realized that greatness can never be stagnant,” he noted. “To quote Bruce Lee, we must be like water, adapting to our container, always changing with the times. And that means being better than the people that came before us. Some people might find this type of talk disrespectful, but it’s exactly the opposite.”
He added, “The highest form of respect that we can pay to the people who came before us, the people who sacrificed for us and gave us everything, is to be better than them … Our parents, grandparents, ancestors sacrificed, not so that we can keep doing the same thing that they were doing but so that we can be better. To simply copy them would be almost an insult to their sacrifice.”
Watch the entire speech above.