Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Gives an Amazing Feminist Commencement Speech at Wellesley College

The inspirational Chimamanda Ngzoi Adichie was Wellesley College’s 2015 Commencement speaker this past May and, of course, she did not disappoint. Decked out in Wellesley College’s colors, the beautiful Adichie presented a motivating speech to the graduating class, while also reminding them to live life with enjoyment and love.

Photo from

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Adichie began by giving this bit of advice: “It’s really just to say that this, your graduation, is a good time to buy some lipsticks—if makeup is your sort of thing—because a good shade of lipstick can always put you in a slightly better mood on dark days.” Can I get an “amen?”

If you’re not familiar with the amazing Adichie, she is an award-winning author, and a celebrated feminist of our current generation. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria on September 15, 1977. Adichie, like her father, ended up leaving for the United States at 19 in order to study at Drexel University. She ultimately went on to complete her master’s degree at John Hopkins University for creative writing.

Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book. She also wrote another award winning book, Half of a Yellow Sun, which was later adapted into a film. Her third novel, Americanah, was released in 2013. She is also well known for her famous TedTalk speech “We Should All Be Feminists” which was sampled in Beyonce’s song ***Flawless.

Adichie’s call for gender equality emerged after she gave the graduates permission to stop by MAC and indulge in online shopping. But she continuously tied self-awareness throughout the speech, such as you should always be mindful of your personal blind spots. Adichie reminded her audience that she knows “men [are] not inherently bad or evil. They [are] privileged…And you [graduates], because you now have your beautiful Wellesley degree, have become privileged, no matter what your background…Don’t let it blind you too often. Sometimes you will need to push it aside in order to see clearly.”

She acknowledged that the world is not fair for women, but that “being discriminated against does not make you morally better.” Adichie also spoke of her father’s kidnapping, her mother’s feminist choices and their love for Wellesley College.

Adichie rounded off the speech by saying, “But [doing something] ‘because you are a woman’ is not one of them. And so, Class of 2015, never ever accept ‘Because You Are A Woman’ as a reason for doing or not doing anything…Don’t silence that voice. Dare to take.”

As a great author and speaker, Adichie’s 2015 Commencement speech was “flawless” (couldn’t resist). We expect nothing less. The beauty of Adichie’s speeches is her frank speech, humor, and wit. As an author, words and stories flow eloquently through her public speaking as well. She’s the woman who encourages you to wear that lipstick for yourself, and don’t hesitate to stand up for any type of equality. Embrace your culture, embrace who you are, and do things because you want to.

Not because you are a woman and certainly not because society tells you to.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: AMY VAUGHN9d54e19e059511e2a62d1231380fd04a_7

As a Montclair State University graduate with a BA in English, my first love is writing, specifically nonfiction and short stories. International human rights and women’s rights are also strong passions of mine. I hope to someday be able to call myself Chief Editor, human rights advocate, and jewelry designer. I can’t live without Mad Men (er, Netflix), soy chai lattes, or my adorable Wheaten terrier, Pippin. 

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