April 25, 2024

John Legend and Janelle Monáe To Speak at Commencements

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John Legend and Janelle Monae

Loyola Marymount University will welcome award-winning, multi-platinum singer-songwriter John Legend as the keynote speaker for the 2024 undergraduate commencement exercises on Saturday, May 4; Janelle Monáe, acclaimed singer, songwriter, producer, and performer, will speak at the graduate commencement on Sunday, May 5.

An EGOT-winning artist with a trophy tally that includes 12 Grammys, three Emmys, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a Tony Award, Legend is a paragon of artistic achievement and social commitment. Not only is he the first African American man to join the exclusive EGOT club, but he also holds a place among just 19 individuals worldwide who have earned this distinction. Over his illustrious career, Legend has released seven celebrated solo albums, from “Get Lifted” to “LEGEND,” showcasing his evolution as an artist committed to pushing the boundaries of music.

Beyond his undeniable talent on the stage, Legend’s contributions to television as a coach on “The Voice” and his portrayal of Jesus in NBC’s “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert,” which earned him critical acclaim and an Emmy, further exemplify his versatile artistry and dedication to excellence. At 15, he responded to a McDonald’s Black History Month essay contest by pledging to “become a successful artist and use that success to help my community.” This early commitment has driven him to use his platform to listen, amplify, and advocate for diverse underrepresented communities, taking on causes from education reform to criminal justice reform.

Monáe is a multi-hyphenate, 10-time Grammy-nominated artist, New York Times best-selling author, actor, and fashion icon. She is known worldwide for her inimitable style and visionary sound, which celebrates the spectrum of identity. Following her critically acclaimed 2018 album “Dirty Computer,” Monáe recently released “The Age of Pleasure” in June 2023. The highly anticipated album has turned into the ultimate celebration. Beyond music, she was recently honored with Critics Choice’s 2023 SeeHer Award and recognized as Trevor Project’s Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year. 

She serves as a co-chair to Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote and has established her own initiative, Fem the Future, which aims to create opportunities for not just fellow creatives but society. In 2022, she published her first book, “The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories from Dirty Computer,” which debuted on the New York Times Bestseller List. As an actor, she starred as “Cassandra Brand” in Netflix’s highly awaited sequel, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” alongside Daniel Craig, Kate Hudson, Kathryn Hahn, and Leslie Odom, Jr. She is also credited for her roles in Academy Award-nominated film “Hidden Figures” and Academy Award-winning film “Moonlight.”

More than 2,400 undergraduate and graduate students will participate in LMU’s commencement exercises, which will be held at Sunken Garden on the LMU Westchester campus and streamed live. More information can be found at lmu.edu/commencement.