Williams delivered the commencement speech for the fall semester at Norfolk State University. This is not far from the Virginia Beach home where Williams grew up.
Williams stated that although I didn't go to Norfolk State, Williams was there every day. "It was an honor to be a part of this story, and I am proud to have been able to make it part of my work. Today, I cannot wait to see the incredible, outstanding graduates of Norfolk State... where they'll go."
Williams was awarded an honorary doctorate by the school, and was also made an honorary member of Norfolk State’s marching band. This brought Williams to tears, The Virginian Pilot of Norfolk reported.
Willams, who was a child when the band played in his Virginia Beach high school, said that he was still curious about why the band didn't have the same "cadence” as Norfolk State.
He said, "I wanted people to feel the same way Norfolk State's bands made me feel."
Williams stated that Norfolk will prosper because it acknowledges the importance of honoring past and local heroes. "Norfolk won't be the city that limits its citizens' potential. It will instead feed it."
He encouraged listeners to spend money in local businesses that care and to change outdated language like "minorities"
He said, "We are emerging majority." Don't wait for Election Day. Vote today, tomorrow, and the next day with your wallet.
Williams has had a difficult relationship with Virginia Beach in recent years. Williams criticized Virginia Beach for not responding to his cousin's death in March, when a police officer shot him at the city’s oceanfront. A grand jury ruled that the officer had been justified in his fatal shooting two weeks ago.
Williams wrote to city officials last month announcing that he would not bring his Something in the Water music festival to the city's beachfront because of the way the city handled the investigation.