Q-Tip, Ledisi, Gilberto Santa Rosa

Q-Tip, Ledisi, And Gilberto Santa Rosa Receive Honorary Doctorates From Berklee College Of Music

Q-Tip shares his gratitude for honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music.

Q-Tip is “still pinching” himself after receiving an honorary doctorate from the Berklee College of Music over Mother’s Day weekend.

The Grammy Award-winning rapper and producer was at the Agganis Arena in Boston on Saturday, May 11, for Berklee College of Music’s 2024 commencement ceremony. He was among the three honorary doctorate recipients who were presented degrees by Berklee Interim Executive Vice President Betsy Newman.

The founding member of A Tribe Called Quest was celebrated for his pivotal role in early hip-hop culture and “forward-thinking artistic vision, which merges rap, jazz, and other styles with socially conscious lyrics, as well as for his impact as a producer, actor, educator, and cultural ambassador,” the school stated.

“To choose this path [of the artist] is a courageous choice indeed,” Q-Tip said during his acceptance speech. “You are handed the task to be courageous in your personal lives, to find balance between intellect and instinct . . . to not let bad choices define you, but to refine you.”

The “Can I Kick It?” emcee reminded the graduates to celebrate their personal accomplishments as “precious mantras . . . to remind you that you are worthy, and that you can do it. You got this!”

In a photo shared on Instagram, Q-Tip further expressed his gratitude for the honorary doctorate he received alongside Grammy-winning R&B singer and songwriter Ledisi and Grammy- and Latin Grammy-winning bandleader and sonero Gilberto Santa Rosa.

“Thank you again to the folks at Berklee for the honor bestowed [prayer hand emojis],” he wrote. “What a great time to share [with] dear friend @ledisi and new friend @santarosalive and CONGRATS to the class of 2024!! Im still pinching [pinching emoji] #berkleecollegeofmusic.”

During the commencement, a lineup of Berklee’s most gifted vocalists, instrumentalists, arrangers, track producers, dancers, and visual artists came together to honor the recipients by performing a medley of their greatest hits, including Ledisi’s “Pieces of Me,” Q-Tip’s “Vivrant Thing,” and Santa Rosa’s “Perdóname.” Ledisi also hit the stage to perform a special rendition of the gospel song “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” and Santa Rosa joined students on stage for a performance of “Que Alguien Me Diga.”

During Ledisi’s acceptance speech, the artist in residence at the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice since 2022 shared how, throughout her career, she’d been told: “that I wasn’t pretty enough, you’ll never make it, and I’m still here.” She put that pain into writing a song that garnered her first Grammy nomination.

“Never let the world tell you who you are. You tell them who you are, she said.

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