Pharrell Williams Wants a World in Which Women Aren't Held Back

Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty

Pharrell Williams has been vocal about both women's and human rights for years, thus it was no surprise that he addressed the need for equality head-on in his commencement speech to New York University's class of 2017 on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. It was as big a day for the students as it was for the star, who can now add a Doctor of Fine Arts Degree to his Grammy-lined wall.

VIDEO: Pharrell Williams Wants a World in Which Women Aren’t Held Back

Williams, who held the role of Artist in Residence at the university's Tisch School of the Arts last year, spoke to the graduates about equal rights for women and praised Generation Z for being innovative and changing how the world sees social justice issues. "Your generation is unraveling deeply entrenched laws, principals, and misguided values that have held women back for far too long and, therefore, have held us all back," he stated. "Imagine the possibilities when women are not held back. The world that you will live in that will be a lot better. This is the first generation that navigates with the security and confidence to treat women as equals."

He continued, "There is no humanity without education and no education without humanity. We are all walking endorsements for education, so please embrace that. I know that somebody out there in this class might occupy the White House one day. And let me be clear—not red and not blue, but maybe purple."

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and NASA astronaut Mark Kelly were also among the school's honorary degree recipients so Williams is in great company.

You can watch his entire speech in the video above.

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