Like many of us growing up, Chance the Rapper tried to copy the moves of Michael Jackson. Chance never thought someone would surpass him.
In a commencement speech to graduates at Dillard University on Saturday, the Grammy-winning artist talked about his preschool graduation in 1997, where moonwalked and crotched grabbed to “Billie Jean” on a CD, successfully replicating his idol.
“They asked me to be Mike, and I delivered,” he told the crowd.
Yet earlier this year, Chance witnessed Beyonce’s much-celebrated performance at Coachella, which he said was better than what Jackson ever did, leading to his point about surpassing your idols.
“I realized that all of us have a responsibility to be greater than the people who came before us,” Chance said.
“We have a responsibility to be not as good as them or live up to their example, but to actually surpass them, even when it seems scary. We have to overcome that fear and be greater than our role models.”
Chance told the crowd of graduating students that they were capable of greatness, and stressed for them to push beyond the achievements of their idols.
“Living up to your heroes is amazing, but it’s not good enough. The difference between goodness and greatness is going beyond,” he continued.
“You have to push forward and surpass their greatness, in order to pay homage to their struggle. Don’t be afraid. Beyoncé had Mike. Mike didn’t have Mike. Mike had James Brown. James Brown had Cab Calloway, and so on and so on.”
“Right now, the greatest performer who ever lived might be right here in this audience. And that person has something Beyoncé never had.”