BONO INTRODUCED a star-studded cover of the U2 classic Beautiful Day with a thought-provoking speech on racism in America.
The Irishman recorded the video as part of a virtual graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020, which has been organised by the Obama family.
A collection of messages and musical performances from musicians and celebrities living through lockdown throughout the world, the undoubted highlight came via the socially-distanced cover
Produced by Billie Eilish’s brother Finneas O’Connell the track featureed contributions from Coldplay’s Chris Martin along with Camila Cabello, Ty Dolla $ign, Cynthia Erivo, Khalid, Leon Bridges, Noah Cyrus, and Ben Platt.
It came via a powerful introduction from the songwriter himself, with Bono musing on the current state of play in America and the role those graduating in 2020 will have in shaping a better future for everyone.
Bono’s speech reads as follows:
“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. Now I know in recent times the world has been reminded that America is an idea that doesn’t even belong to a lot of Americans and that for many black Americans Lady Liberty’s torch is far from a beacon of hope, it’s often a flashlight in the face.”
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 what might be. We now know that America is a song yet to be written that America might be the greatest song that the world has never heard.
"It’s a wild thought - that America has yet to exist and even wilder that the Class of 2020 may be the very people to bring it into being after 244 years striving for freedom - sometimes marching, sometimes protesting, sometimes on your knee, sometimes taking the knee, you get there, you get there. I don’t know how but I know who – you.
"You can vote for barricades of bigotry and with your vote you can dismantle institutions that uphold that bigotry and are in your way. You can enter America, you can enter America, we will all enter with you but it’s going to be you and that, that is gonna be a beautiful day”
You can watch the full version of the song here: