will.i.am to Be USC Commencement Speaker

by Music-News.com Newsdesk

Black Eyed Peas star will.i.am is set to speak before graduates of the University of Southern California's new arts programs.

The musician will give the commencement speech to the first group of students to receive a degree from the Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology, and the Business of Innovation.

The judge on the U.K. version of The Voice, born Williams James Adams Jr, currently runs various technology companies - including the mobile record company Amuse and BEATS Electronics.

In a statement, Erica Muhl, the dean and founding executive director of the USC program explained the reason the music mogul was chosen to speak at the school at the ceremony on May 11.

“will.i.am personifies the spirit of cross-disciplinary innovation and creativity, which is the essence of the academy. His drive to transform our world through his art, his support of groundbreaking technologies and his philanthropic pursuits make him qualified to guide our first graduating class as they begin their own, individual, creative journeys,” she said.

Meanwhile, Chance the Rapper is to deliver the commencement address at New Orleans' Dillard University on 12 May. Dillard President Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough cited the musician's ability to speak so openly about the importance of faith while also delivering chart-topping music as one of the reasons he had sought him to appear on the campus for the past two years.

"He's not signed but a multiple Grammy winner," Kimbrough said in a statement. "He's the artist that your grandmother would love."

He also referenced Chance's various philanthropic efforts, including the founding of nonprofit organisation SocialWorks, created to empower youth through the arts, education, and civic engagement, and his numerous campaigns to call an end to gun violence.

"The activism is a bonus with Chance," Kimbrough added. "I thought he made for a great commencement speaker because of his spirit of being entrepreneurial and authentic. But his civic engagement, including encouraging people to vote and willingness to speak out on issues, are just as paramount."

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