Edward Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance” March No. 1 in D. is basically the soundtrack to every graduation ever.
But I bet you haven’t heard this version before.
In a video released Sunday, Lizzo played the iconic two-minute middle section that’s synonymous with graduation on the flute, in a performance for students graduating in the Class of 2020. In the video below, Lizzo plays solo for the first 40-odd seconds before saying, “Now let’s turn it up.”
That’s when she’s joined by the New York Philharmonic, which is a famous symphony orchestra, and the trap beat kicks in. Turn it up loud:
The stunning performance was part of YouTube Originals livestream on Sunday, which featured multiple public figures and celebrities in an event called Dear Class of 2020. Highlights included the cast of Schitt’s Creek and Mariah Carey singing “Hero” to teachers, The Simpsons’ chaotic video call, and speeches from the likes of Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, and Alicia Keys.
Lizzo’s video also features photos of young black graduates wearing caps and gowns and participating in Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, who died after an officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
The video ends on the viral photo of graduate Deveonte Joseph, taken by photographer Nathan Aguirre. In the photo Joseph is wearing his blue graduation robes and his mortar board in St. Paul, Minnesota, with the glow of police floodlights behind him.
“It’s been hard. I’ve fought through it, but I did it. I graduated. We graduates from 2020 are going through all this,” Joseph told Refinery29.
To the Class of 2020: Be proud of yourselves.