The four-hour celebration advertised an appearance by “Finneas & Co,” and the singer/producer delivered a “remix” of U2’s 2000 hit with a roster that included Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Camila Cabello, Ty Dolla $ign, Tove Lo, Khalid, Leon Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Ben Platt and Noah Cyrus.
Prior to the rendition, Bono himself addressed the Class of 2020 with a mini-commencement speech that touched on the current state of America.
“As an Irishman, I’ve always believed that America is not just a country, it’s an idea, it’s a dream that belongs to the whole world,” Bono said.
“Now I know in recent times, the world is being reminded that America is an idea that doesn’t even belong to a lot of Americans. And for many Black Americans, Lady Liberty’s torch is far from a beacon of hope. It’s often a flashlight in the face.”
The singer continued, “Now there were storm clouds over Dublin when U2 recorded ‘Beautiful Day,’ things were not as they might have been. But the song was not a description of where we were at, it was a prayer for where we could go, and a dream — like America is a dream — of where we might be. We now know that America is a song yet to be written. That America might be the greatest song the world has never heard. It’s a wild thought, that America is yet to exist. And even wilder that the Class of 2020 might be the very people to bring it into being.”
YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” special also featured commencement speeches and appearances by Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, the Obamas, BTS, Lizzo, Justin Timberlake and dozens more.
In May, Bono shared his “60 Songs That Saved My Life” playlist with Rolling Stone, with the singer listing “Everything I Wanted” by Finneas and his sister Billie Eilish.