Actors, singers and celebrities lent their talent to the XQ “Super Schools” hour-long special that aired on all the major news channels and drew attention to improving American high schools.
ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX all aired the hour-long special on Friday that presented modern American high schools as a system that “has been around for a very long time, and it worked quite well for a very long time, but it hasn’t kept up with the changes necessary to get kids ready for life after high school in the 21st century.”
Participants included a who’s who of Hollywood and the music industry: Tom Hanks; Viola Davis; Lin-Manual Miranda; Samuel. L. Jackson; Andra Day; Jordan Fischer; Jennifer Hudson; Jordan Fisher; Justin Timberlake; Ringo Starr; U2; James Cordon; Kelly Clarkson; Chance the Rapper; Maria Bello; DJ Khaled; and JJ Abrams. They spoke or sang during the event, which posited XQ’s vision to “rethink, reimagine and rebuild the high school system.”
At about the 33-minute mark, Tom Hanks drove up in a yellow school bus and started singing the pop song “Kids in America” with comedian and late-night television talk show host James Corden. They were joined by a chorus of high schoolers.
Choreographed high school dancers in colorful costumes were accompanied by graphics flashing on a giant screen, followed by a segment on how things like cars and technology have changed immensely in 100 years, but the school system of long days full of studying from books at desks is still almost the same. How, the show asked, does this prepare kids for the real world?
Samuel L. Jackson noted that the event was produced and run by students in order to emphasize their potential and abilities. Clips were shown of interviews with teachers, shoutouts from students helped by dedicated school staff, and innovations being implemented by schools across the nation.
One segment highlighted the colorfully decorated XQ Super School Bus, which launched last year “to connect with and celebrate communities across America,” and has travelled to 65 cities in 32 states.
“Communities throughout America can come together and create the type of education that honors and respects the potential of every child,” said Chance the Rapper.
“The fact that I am standing here tonight is a testament to the power of education. Education saved my life. Education matters.” Viola Davis said.
Watch the entire event, below.