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'Graduate Together 2020': Rapper Chika's uplifting 'Crown' performance is a shout out to this year's seniors

Chika, an Alabama-born rapper and poetry enthusiast, honored graduates who couldn't get a proper ceremony with her single 'Crown'
Chika (Getty Images)
Chika (Getty Images)

Chika performed her inspiring single 'Crown' on Saturday's 'Graduate Together: America Honors the High School of Class of 2020' special. The US television special was star-studded with guests and celebrated the Class of 2020 who couldn't attend a proper graduation ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking about her performance, Chika said, "Graduating is such an accomplishment that seniors everywhere are missing out on this year, and I hope this song can bring everyone a little more inspiration right now."

The Montgomery, Alabama-born rapper attended Booker T Washington Magnet High School due to her interest in music and slam poetry. She was accepted into Berklee College of Music, but attended University of South Alabama due to tuition costs. After her first year, she dropped out to focus on her music career. Chika first gained widespread attention following a video she posted on Instagram on November 9, 2016, the day after the 2016 United States presidential election. In the clip, she covers herself in pale foundation and said, “African-American? Never felt that, never heard of that, never tasted that, never smelled that."

The emerging politically conscious rapper went viral in 2018 for a freestyle addressing Kanye West over his support for Donald Trump. Chika released her debut single, 'No Squares' in April last year.

Chika spoke with Rolling Stone in March about how she was accepted into the Berklee School of Music but couldn’t afford the program. “People who have gotten known on the internet, they’re pigeon-holed as influencers, and looked at as an Instagram presence rather than as an artist,” she said. “And for me, I’ve been making music since I was two. Having virality and these moments that were really cool…. it’s a process, I guess, in order for the actual artistry to shine through. I know my journey is far beyond what I’m doing currently," she said. Chika’s EP 'Industry Games' is out now.

The 'Graduate Together' special also featured commencement speeches from Barack Obama and LeBron James, who delivered a message of hope for the future to the Class of 2020. Earlier in the day, the former president criticized the current administration’s response to the coronavirus in a speech to HBCUs.