Angela Bassett gives Spelman 2024 Commencement Address: 'Embody the queen you were meant to be'

Hours after President Joe Biden gives the commencement address at Morehouse College, renowned actress Angela Bassett took center at Spelman College to instill her own wisdom into the class of 2024.

Bassett was invited to be the keynote speaker at Spelman's 137th commencement on May 19.

During the ceremony, the famed actress, director and executive producer, known for her starring roles in Waiting to Exhale, What's Love Got to Do With It, 911, the Black Panther series, Damsel and many others, used multiple vignettes to compare the graduating class to great women across Black history.

She used the stories of the perseverance of Mamie Till – the mother of Emmett Till, her co-honoree Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson – the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, and Hattie McDaniel – the first African American to win an Academy Award, who was also forced to sit by herself due to segregation – and many others to encourage the young women to keep their heads up as they enter a world that may not always want to see them succeed.

Toward the end of Bassett's powerful speech, she encouraged the class to speak their names loudly and proudly and proclaim that they are "Spelman Women."

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Angela Bassett gives the commencement address at Spelman College.

Bassett, who graduated from Yale University with both her bachelor's and master’s degrees in the 80s, was presented with an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.

"I am a Spelman woman!" Bassett said as she received her degree.

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Boston, MA - May 21: Angela Onwuachi-Willig, left, dean of Boston University Law School, bestows an honorary doctor of law degree upon Ketanji Brown Jackson, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, during Boston University's 150th graduation ceremony at Nickerson Field. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Spelman also honored Supreme Court Justice Jackson, a Harvard University two-time graduate, with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Rose Scott, the highly acclaimed host and producer on Atlanta's NPR station, WABE, will receive the National Community Service Award for her nearly two decades worth of interviewing politicians, ambassadors, civic and social leaders, as well as her dedication to her community. Scott is a proud graduate of Indiana State University.

Meanwhile, Rev. Dr. Flunder, founder of the City of Refuge United Church of Christ, spoke at the 2024 baccalaureate ceremony on Saturday. It can be watched here.

Commencement began at 3 p.m. on Sunday. It was live-streamed here.