Barack Obama & BTS-Headlined ‘Dear Class Of 2020’ Shatters YouTube Records


Graduates across America were not able to congregate in person this year due to coronavirus concerns, but a lot of them showed up for YouTube’s Dear Class of 2020 star-studded virtual ceremony.

With former President Barack Obama delivering the marquee commencement speech, the four-hour June 7 event snagged over 665,000 peak concurrent viewers and over 17 million total views over 24 hours. That makes Dear Class of 2020 the most watched YouTube Originals live event since the service once known as YouTube Red launched in 2016.

Having raised over $2 million via corporate sponsorship and also featuring an address from Michelle Obama as well, the well-publicized Dear Class of 2020 rose up to 28 million total views at 2 days post-launch, and then to 34 million total views at the 72-hour point after its debut. All of which helped make the Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, J.J. Abrams, Taylor Swift, Missy Elliott, Seth Rogen, Bill Porter, Billie Eilish, Lizzo and a show closing BTS among others, starring ceremony become the most discussed YouTube Originals launch ever on Twitter and other social media.

In a time of various virtual graduations, Dear Class of 2020 was intended to fill the space left by ceremonies shuttered due to the COVID-19 crisis. The livestreamed event was initially set for June 6, but was delayed a day in honor of the George Floyd memorial service that was held in Raeford, North Carolina yesterday.

If you didn’t see Dear Class of 2020 back on June 7, check out this highlights reel:

In his ultimately optimistic comments to the new graduates, President Obama spoke of the Memorial Day killing of Floyd by Minneapolis cops and the protests for justice and against racism that have followed.

“Democracy isn’t about relying on some charismatic leader to make changes from on high,” the 44th POTUS asserted in remarks that addressed the coronavirus as well. “It’s about finding hope in ourselves, and creating it in others. Especially in a time like this. You don’t always need hope when everything’s going fine. It’s when things seem darkest — that’s when you need it the most.”

Clearly words that resonated. Not that a tune and some words from the massively popular seven-member BTS hurt either, if you know what I mean?

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