Ava DuVernay Tells Graduates Of Life’s Unpredictability & The Power Of Sincerity In Compton College Commencement Speech

… doing something you never used to make time for?
To be genuine in your actions. Sincerely. They believe in something. When that is lacking, power is lacking. Very few people realize what power sincerity carries. Those who have done great things in life, in whatever walk of life it be, have done them by the power of truth, the power of sincerity. However physically strong a person may be, they can be kept down by their falsehood; it never allows you to rise. Truly.
“You have to love. You are here to risk your heart. You have to feel. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. You are here to be swallowed up. It is the reason you are here on earth. Tell yourself that you tasted as many as you could.”
Will you remember the pain, the fear?
Keith Curry said at the top of today's ceremony. “While today’s ceremony is virtual, the pride and compliments our students feel at this moment is genuine and well deserved,” Compton College president and CEO Dr. “Every student is a success story.”
DuVernay, as I guess we need to address her now, has long said she wants to open a movie theater in Compton to show independent films from around the world. … Dr. Maybe by next year’s graduation.
But will you also remember:
So allow that diploma you’re receiving today to be a reminder of who you are and what you want. Let all that goodness propel you forward as you journey on. Let it be a guiding light that always brings you back to this day – when you were proud of yourself, when you were at the height of hope, and when you embraced all the parts of you – sincerely.
Will it be…isolation and economic insecurity in a global pandemic?
My sincerest congratulations to you, class of 2021. And I hope it is delicious. Go out there and do your best.” /> I hope you taste this life and all that is ahead of you.
… discovering what you really want out of this life?

And Hope. Perspective. In a year that brought so much pain… I hope that for you – as you embark on the next chapter of your life – that it also brought… Clarity.
Still mainly virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic, graduations galore are underway — and that means commencement speeches like what DuVernay delivered today. As Tinseltown is in full FYC mode right now, that another type of awards season in full swing too around Hollywood and the nation.
“The more sincerity is developed, the greater share of truth you’ll have,” Ava DuVernay told the 2021 graduates of Compton College on Friday during her virtual commencement address.
What a time that you, the graduating class of 2021, are all experiencing. When you look back at your college experience. What will you remember?
Will it be…spending your final year of college in a virtual classroom?
…the spending more time with the people that you love.
Check out the ceremony below (DuVernay's address begins at 32:40):
Your purpose. Your intention. To focus on the most important things in each of our lives. Your energy. If this time has taught us anything, it’s that life is unpredictable. To recalibrate your perspective. To embrace the opportunity to be — sincere. I hope that what you’ve learned in an unpredictable year, is that with unpredictability comes opportunity. Your motive. The opportunity to evaluate what is right in front of you.
Along with a dance card full of projects such as a young Colin Kaepernick limited series for Netflix, the Rosario Dawson-starring DMZ for HBO Max, the animated Wings of Fire adaptation for Netflix, and the upcoming CW superhero drama Naomi, the Queen Sugar creator and activist herself was deemed an honorary Doctor of the Arts by Yale. The address from the self-described “proud Compton native” and UCLA grad comes just days after DuVernay and the Array  collective she founded a decade ago received the Peabody’s prestigious Institutional Award for its multi-platform work disrupting media hierarchies and amplifying underrepresented voices.
As a proud Compton native, I’m so pleased and honored to share a few words with you all on this momentous day in the lives of today’s graduates. Keith Curry. Greetings to each and every family member, loved one, esteemed faculty and staff and President of Compton College, Dr.
I’ll leave you with these words from a Native American writer named Louise Erdrich.
“Sincerity, truly feeling things deeply and expressing this genuinely and behaving righteously, is the bridge between yourself and what we want. Because who we are deep down is all that really matters,” the Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker added, imparting her experience and insights to the Los Angeles students. (Read DuVernay’s full commencement speech below.)
Sincerity, truly feeling things deeply and expressing this genuinely and behaving righteously, is the bridge between yourself and what we want. The more sincerity is developed, the greater share of truth you’ll have. Because who we are deep down is all that really matters.
Protection for LGBTQ employees’ rights… Health care and essential workers finally being hailed as the heroes they have always been. Some good things have happened that are worthy of our hope. The most voter participation in 120 years… Historic election wins for women and people of color… a society that is safely reopening post-pandemic … a social justice awakening for many and a social justice movement for many others.
Here's her full commencement speech:
Will it be…the trauma of witnessing torture and murder of Black and Brown people in the streets of America transmitted on TV screens and social media platforms?
It shouldn’t be forgotten. Probably.

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