Q-Tip Honored at Berklee College of Music with Honorary Doctorate.

More than 1,300 graduates from 64 countries and 49 US states came together to celebrate at the Agganis Arena in Boston for Berklee College of Music’s 2024 commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11. At the event, Berklee Interim Executive Vice President Betsy Newman presented honorary doctorates to three iconic artists: Grammy-winning R&B singer and songwriter Ledisi, Grammy-winning hip-hop artist and producer Q-Tip, and Grammy- and Latin Grammy–winning bandleader and sonero Gilberto Santa Rosa.

Q-Tip was honored for his 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.

Relating his thoughts on the current state of the world and the essential need for creative expression and innovation, Q-Tip offered poetic words of advice to the graduating class: “To choose this path [of the artist] is a courageous choice indeed. 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.” He also emphasized the importance of celebrating personal accomplishments, which he said are like “precious mantras . . . to remind you that you are worthy, and that you can do it. You got this!”

This year’s honorary doctorate recipients were celebrated for cementing a place in popular culture as artistic innovators, unique creators, and community advocates who continue to connect and inspire global audiences everywhere. Past recipients from the college include Duke Ellington (the first, in 1971), Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gillespie, Celine Dion, B.B. King, Quincy Jones ’51, esperanza spalding B.M. ’05, Justin Timberlake, Usher, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Lionel Richie, Missy Elliot, Carole King, Willie Nelson, George Clinton, Plácido Domingo, Annie Lennox, Gloria Estefan, Lalah Hathaway ’90, Ringo Starr, Joni Mitchell, and Smokey Robinson.