You can read Obama’s full remarks about Chance below, and watch her speech here:

“Thanks so much, Debra, and hello, BET family. Barack and I are so sorry that we cannot be there tonight in person, but please know that we are with you in spirit and we are so incredibly proud of you, Chance. We have known Chance and his family since he was a wee little baby rapper and it has been a thrill watching him come into his own in so many ways. In addition to making some really amazing music, Chance has been taking that big, bright spotlight that follows him around and he’s shining on young people in our hometown of Chicago. Time and again he has been standing up, speaking out, and doing the work to get kids in our community the education they deserve. And with these passionate efforts, Chance is showing our young people that they matter, that they have something inside of them that is worthy of being expressed, and that they have so much to contribute to their communities, and to our country. Chance, you are an outstanding role model and an inspiration to all of us who care about our next generation. Because of you, countless young people will grow up believing in themselves, fulfilling their god-given potential and then reaching back and lifting up other people along the way. I can think of no better legacy to leave and I am thrilled to celebrate you tonight and call you my friend. Thanks so much for everything you do. Congratulations, and god bless.”