Beyoncé will help four women pay for their college education, including a student at Howard University in Washington, she announced on her website.
The megastar artist this week announced Formation Scholars, a scholarship effort that aims to “encourage and support young women who are unafraid to think outside the box and are bold, creative, conscious and confident,” according to post on her website.
The site indicated that the scholarships are part of the “celebration” of the anniversary of “Lemonade,” Beyoncé’s sixth album, released in April 2016. On “Formation,” a track on that album, Beyoncé sings: “I dream it, I work hard, I grind till I own it.” She performed a version of “Formation” at the 2016 Super Bowl.
Details of the awards, such as whether they were full rides or partial scholarships, were not immediately clear Tuesday morning.
The scholarships, awarded for the 2017-2018 academic year, will go to women “pursuing studies in creative arts, music, literature or African-American studies,” according to Beyoncé’s website.
In addition to Howard, participating schools included the Berklee College of Music in Boston; Parsons School of Design in New York City; and Spelman College in Atlanta. One scholarship will be awarded to a student at each college, the website states.
“We at Berklee love Beyonce,” Berklee President Roger Brown said in a statement. “As a singer, writer, producer, performer, and humanitarian, Beyonce is a strong and inspiring role model for our students.”
The statement also noted: “Beyonce’s support for a female student studying at the Boston or Valencia, Spain, campus will have an impact on the global music industry, and further her own mission of artistic excellence and innovative business practices that have made her the most compelling artist of the 21st century.”
Howard and Spelman are HBCUs, or historically black colleges and universities.
“Beyoncé Knowles-Carter’s generosity could not have come at a better time,” Mary Schmidt Campbell, president of Spelman, said in a statement. “Spelman is brimming with talented admitted students who have distinguished themselves as leaders, high academic performers and change agents. Nonetheless, they face very real financial barriers to attendance. Her gift opens a door to a transformative Spelman experience for at least one of them. We are so grateful to this visionary artist for helping us build a future for our young people.”
Howard, in Northwest Washington, has in recent years struggled with financial concerns. Earlier this month, the chairman of Howard’s faculty senate, Taft Broome, announced that faculty leaders had voted no confidence in the school’s president, Wayne A.I. Frederick. Other members of the faculty, however, called that vote into question.
In September, Sean “Diddy” Combs, a musician, entertainer and entrepreneur, announced a $1 million gift to the School of Business at Howard, funding that was to be used for scholarships and internships. Combs attended Howard but didn’t graduate. He has been given an honorary degree from the school.
“I was blessed to receive a great education from Howard University — one of the best schools in the world — and it helped to fuel my success in business and life,” Combs said in a statement at the time. “This scholarship will make it possible for the next generation of leaders to pursue their dreams and achieve greatness.”
“When I delivered the commencement address at Howard,” Combs said, “I asked the students ‘Do you know how powerful you are?’ I know that Howard students are intelligent, talented, passionate, and their hard work will shape the future.”