On Monday, Grammy-nominated R&B artist SZA returned to Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, from which she graduated in 2008, for her induction into the school’s hall of fame.
During the ceremony, the singer and songwriter, real name Solana Imani Rowe, delivered a motivational speech to graduating students and performed during two assembly periods, despite her ongoing battles with vocal cord problems.
In a speech, SZA told students to “design your own world right now,” before revealing that when she graduated she refused to attend prom because she wasn’t popular enough to bag a date.
“It starts with trusting yourself, even if people are telling you you’re too young to trust yourself,” she said, before telling teenagers to: “find the details and the inner workings of yourself.”
SZA, who joins the High School’s other prominent star Lauryn Hill (who graduated in 1993 and was inducted in 1999), also gave a shoutout to her favorite art teacher and explained how her “daydreaming” had helped her become who he is today.
The appearance comes on the heels of SZA being pulled from the line-up of the TDE Championship Tour due to an injury to her vocal cords. She recently scared fans by expressing fears she had “permanently injured” her voice.
The TDE Championship Tour, which also features Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q, runs until 16 June, when it will come to a close in Pennsylvania.