"America is a better place today than it was when I graduated from college," Obama told the graduates

By Aurelie Corinthios
Updated May 08, 2016 01:10 PM
Patsy Lynch/REX/Shutterstock

The Beyhive is going to love this one.

While delivering a commencement speech at Howard University on Saturday, President Obama had high praises to sing for Beyoncé, reports the Associated Press.

“When I was graduating, the main black hero on TV was Mr. T. Rap and hip-hop were counterculture, underground,” he told graduates of the historically black school in Washington, D.C. “Now Shonda Rhimes owns Thursday night and Beyoncé runs the world.”

Rhimes is the showrunner of three hugely popular ABC shows, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder, which comprise the network’s Thursday evening lineup.

Obama noted that there were no black CEOs of top companies and only a small number of black judges when he graduated from Colombia University in 1983, but now “we’re producers, studio executives.”

“No longer small-business owners, we’re CEOs. We’re mayors, representatives –” he said as someone in the crowd shouted out, “President,” according to the Associated Press.

“America is a better place today than it was when I graduated from college,” said Obama, 54. “By almost every measure.”

He went on to acknowledge that “gaps do persist,” citing racism and inequality, and called on the university’s graduates to make it their job to close those gaps, telling them “your generation is better positioned than any before you to meet those challenges.”

“America needs you to gladly, happily take up that work … so enjoy the party, because you’re going to be busy,” Obama said.

Obama, who was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree from Howard, is scheduled to deliver two more commencement speeches this spring, speaking at Rutgers University in New Jersey on May 15 and at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado on June 2.