Singer Anthony Hamilton receives honorary degree from Charlotte university
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - This past Sunday, Johnson C. Smith University graduates marched into Bojangles Coliseum to the melody of “Pomp and Circumstance.” But before this commencement ended, what erupted among these students may usher in a new tradition.
With the encouragement of the university brass, an impromptu step show broke out before degrees were awarded.
Perhaps it was a fitting gesture considering Grammy Award-winning singer and Charlotte native Anthony Hamilton was on the receiving end of an honorary degree.
University board chair Steven Boyd described Hamilton as “a man who despite his international acclaim has not forgotten his roots in West Charlotte.”
Awarded a doctoral degree in fine arts, the well-known performer wasted no time in breaking the ice.
He applauded members making up the class of 2023 for their perseverance, despite our nation’s severe health crisis.
“You’ve also overcome the pandemic. You’ve navigated remote learning, and I did too with my kids. You made it through this virus that could have taken your life and almost took mine,” Hamilton told the crowd at Bojangles Coliseum.
His work earned a Grammy for the hit song “What I’m Feeling”.
The Charlotte native launched his own record label and wrote a book about the music business titled Cornbread Fishing and Collard Greens.
Students at Johnson C. Smith University campus agree that Anthony Hamilton is a legitimate superstar.
“He managed to keep the conversation real by sharing low lows as well as mountain top experiences with a select group of graduates.”
“I just kept pushing and I just kept dreaming. Cutting hair, singing in the barbershop. That lead me to meet a guy and that guy took me to New York, and that got my first record deal.”
Inspiring for students earning degrees, and Stephen Sherill says Hamilton’s backstage words struck a chord of humility.
“He gave us some very valuable lessons I will take with me.”
“I admire this generation,” Hamilton remarked.
Admiration with a challenge to these HBCU graduates.
“I know this experience will make many of you stronger. You have the tools. Go back to the community and make them stronger.”
Copyright 2023 WBTV. All rights reserved.