By Kevin Rutherford
When he returned to his alma mater yesterday, John Legend was arguably on top of the world.
The singer gave the commencement address at the University of Pennsylvania on Monday (May 19), returning to the university he attended before breaking out as a world-known musician.
Legend was in a self-deprecating mood to start the ceremony, singing a few bars of his No. 1 hit in the U.S., “All of Me.”
“All of you / Are so over me,” he crooned to the audience’s delight. “You’re tired of hearing that I went to Penn / Why’d they bring him back again?”
He conceded that the parody was his “humblebrag way of saying” he had the top song in the country.
Joking aside, the 20-minute speech was mostly what one would expect from a commencement address: Legend instructed the graduates to pursue their dreams and find the path on which they’re meant to travel.
“We’re taught when we’re young that the opposite of love is hate, but it’s not,” he said. “Hate is a byproduct, hate is a result. Being a hater isn’t cool — nobody wants that. But hate comes from one thing: fear. Fear is the opposite of love.”
Legend attended University of Pennsylvania as an undergraduate student, majoring in English with a focus on African-American literature.