"Be yourself," says Lena Waithe. "There's enough normal in the world."

By Mia McNiece
May 16, 2020 08:00 PM
Credit: Yara Shahidi/instagram; Frazer Harrison/Getty

The class of 2020 may not be getting a traditional graduation due to COVID-19, but as Lena Waithe points out, "they're getting the Obamas!"

Waithe, former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama are teaming up with the XQ Institute, The LeBron James Family Foundation and The Entertainment Industry Foundation for Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020.

The one-hour primetime event will air simultaneously across ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET/PT, and will also be available to stream on TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, Complex Networks, PEOPLE and other online platforms.

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LeBron James in high school and as a Los Angeles Laker
| Credit: Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal/Getty; Jim McIsaac/Getty

Waithe, who won a writing Emmy for Master of None and is also the creator of Showtime's The Chi, graduated from Evanston Township High School in Illinois and says her best advice for this year's seniors is "don't be normal."

"Be yourself," adds Waithe, 35. "There's enough normal in the world."

Black-ish and Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi, 20, will also be participating in Graduate Together, and says she was already impressed with the current graduating class before coronavirus hit.

Malala Yousafzai
| Credit: Getty(2)

"Prior to this pandemic, they already had so much energy and spirit, and that hasn’t stopped," says Shahidi. "They’ve done great work in extremely difficult circumstances and deserve a celebration."

The commercial-free broadcast will feature a collection of commencement addresses and celebrity performances by LeBron JamesMalala Yousafzai, the Jonas Brothers, Pharrell Williams, Megan Rapinoe, Ben Platt and others.

Yousafzai, 22, understands what the class of 2020 is going through, having had her own graduation from the University of Oxford canceled.

“Young people around the world see themselves as activists," says the Nobel Peace Prize winner. "I’m proud to be in this generation and to work with my peers to improve our communities."

She adds: “A global pandemic does make us, if not special, at least unforgettable!”