The students at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, were ecstatic when fellow alum SZA stopped by a class assembly to be inducted into the school’s hall of fame. SZA, born Solana Imani Rowe, told the students: “When I went to this school things were very different, we had free ninth periods, and a lot of room to make bad decisions that low-key turned us into great people.”
Even though last week on Twitter, the singer revealed that her voice is permanently injured, she gave a performance of “The Weekend” for the students. Halfway through singing, SZA stopped to speak “real shit” and said, “You have to pay attention to how God is working in your life,” she added, “It starts with compassion. It starts with trusting yourself, even if people are telling you you’re too young to trust yourself.”
There must be something about Columbia High School that produces iconic Grammy-nominated singers because former student Lauryn Hill was also inducted into their hall of fame in 1999.
SZA, who graduated in 2008, also made at least some students feel better when she told the crowd that she didn’t go to prom because she was unpopular and didn’t have a date. She also encouraged students to, “Design your own world right now” and to daydream. “You find the details and the inner workings of yourself and what you actually want to do… daydreaming is actually where this whole thing starts.”
Watch the video from the assembly below: