The graduating class of 2022 in Washington D.C. will have an extra gift this year thanks to Pharrell Williams. On Friday (June 10), the Grammy Award-winning producer announced all D.C. public high school seniors would be gifted a free pass to his Something In The Water Festival taking place on Juneteenth weekend.
“Congrats to this year’s D.C. high school graduates on all that you have accomplished,” Pharrell said in a video statement. “You’ve truly inspired all of us through your resiliency and your ability to learn through a pandemic. You deserve to be celebrated and so we’re gonna! On behalf of the Something In The Water and XQ Institute, we would like to give each of you one free pass to the festival.”
Congrats DC Class of 2022! pic.twitter.com/xYNPuFC4zp
— XQ (@XQAmerica) June 10, 2022
The festival will bring out a star-studded lineup to the nation’s capital, including Tyler, The Creator, Pusha T, Lil Baby, Roddy Ricch, Run The Jewels, Usher, Ashanti, Ja Rule, Thundercat, Tierra Whack, Denzel Curry and more.
Pharrell’s hometown of Virginia Beach, Virginia lost out on the second edition of the festival last October over concerns about how the city handled the police killing of his cousin, Donovon Lynch. After a grand jury cleared Officer Solomon D. Simmons of charges and found him justified in shooting Lynch, Williams wrote a letter to Virginia Beach City Manager Patrick Duhaney outlining his reasoning for moving the festival. He also called for change despite the festival easing racial tensions and providing an economic boom to the region.
“I love my city, but for far too long it has been run by — and with toxic energy,” he wrote. “The toxic energy that changed the narrative several times around the homicide of my cousin, [Donovon] Lynch, a citizen of Virginia, is the same toxic energy that changed the narrative around the mass murder and senseless loss of life at Building Number 2. I wish the same energy I’ve felt from Virginia Beach leadership upon losing the festival would have been similarly channeled following the loss of my relative’s life.”
The 2019 edition of the festival pulled in $24 million for the city, but the 2020 and 2021 editions were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.