Actor Richard T Jones Embarrasses Himself at UMUC Commencement

As someone who has written a commencement speech for a celebrity and had ONE day to do it, actor Richard Jones’ improvisational turn at the microphone at UMUC is just inexcusable. There are plenty of speechwriters like me who will hook you up with something in your voice that matches your goals and values. I also have to say, I find it kind of appalling that someone would perform this badly at a commencement.

Public speaking is on the list of most people’s biggest fears, and commencement speeches are among the biggest honors. Most commencement speeches are boring and trite, but that’s better than uncomfortable and lacking respect.

One of Jones’ last films was “Why Did I Get Married” maybe next time he’ll star in “Why Was I Chosen to Speak in Public.”






  1. Wow *crickets*

    I’m not the greatest public speaker, but why not take the whole “there’s nothing new under the sun” concept since he claimed all of his great material was already spoken. This could have been a great unscripted speech. All those excuses and awkward pauses could’ve been eliminated. I graduated from UMUC…this would’ve ticked me off.

    • I agree…I wonder what he was thinking on the way there. I’m sure he’s
      spoken in public quite a bit over the years, no material to recycle??

      • ‘Recycle’ presumes that the material has had a first airing. Nothing in his presentation leads me to believe that he’s ever done this (successfully) before.  I’m so embarrassed I can barely watch. It’s like watching an accident in slo-mo. You know what’s coming and you can’t seem to stop it from happening. If I were a graduate I would have blown a gasket.

        What he was thinking on the way there is, “I got this”. Smirking fool.

        • This is definitely one of, if not the hardest, videos to make it through. I
          can’t imagine being there live. I’m reading all the graduates’ comments and
          feeling such sympathy!

  2. #fail

  3. He should’ve just done the speech he prepared…if that part was even true. And then he has this dumb smirk on his face. What a mess.
    Oh well, at least he mentioned Martin Luther King.

    • You mean “Martha Luther King”.. SHM

  4. I proudly sat in my cap and gown waiting on the edge of my seat hoping that Richard T. Jones would rebound from his ‘WOW’ start.  What an embarrassment to himself, and what disrespect to my fellow graduates as we really did deserve better.  Either of the graduates would have been more than happy to write a script for him to avoid this type of dissing.

    • Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear you were one of the victimized graduates!!

  5. As someone who was there, it was the most pathetic and embarrassing moment of my life.  As an African-American female who was receiving a doctorate degree on this day, I had never been so angry and upset by the antics of an African-American male.   He should be ashamed of himself for not being better prepared.  It was disrespectful and a disgrace.

  6. Who was responsible for selecting him to speak?

  7. This commencement meant absolutely nothing to him and it shows. He should be ashamed for his utter and absolute disregard and disrespect for the graduates and the school.  My hearts go out to the graduates who deserved so much better.

  8. […] for not being better prepared. It was disrespectful and a disgrace.Watch the video below: Via Media Strut Featured bitche galleries No Tantrums YetBITCHIE LINXBig Sean Dishes On P*nis Pics, Falling In […]

  9. I too sat in my seat graduating with an MBA. Mr. Jones did not have any speech prepared, there were no quotes used by previous speakers, there was very little said other than accolades for the professors and specific student achievements. Mr. Jones was just not prepared period. He did not even try! The students were embarrassed that he was rambling a bunch a nothing when many had friends and family that traveled by car or flew to be present.  I had 13 family and friends members some with advanced degrees and they too could not believe that Mr. Jones did not even attempt to deliver an acceptable speech. It was totally embarrassing.  If he could not devise a speech he should have not accepted the invite and the pay that came along with being the commencement speaker.



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