As if her mind-blowing Coachella set weren’t already a musical, visual and physical triumph, Beyonce revealed on Monday morning that the set’s collegiate theme was pointing to a scholarship program: Through her BeyGOOD initiative, the singer announced the four schools to receive the newly established Homecoming Scholars Award Program for the 2018-2019 academic year. The Universities, Xavier, Wilberforce, Tuskegee and Bethune-Cookman, are all Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). HBCUs are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the intention of primarily serving the African-American community.
The announcement ties in with Beyonce’s performance on multiple levels: She was accompanied by 150-plus performers, most if not all of whom were people of color; many of those performers were part of a marching band, majorettes and drumline styled on those from black colleges and universities, and she and her performers often wore collegiate-type outfits bearing the Greek letters beta delta and kappa, her initials with the delta referencing her favored number, four; and the set was loaded with references and quotes from black history, ranging from an excerpt from a Malcolm X speech to a quote from a Nina Simone song, “Lilac Wine.”
And she pointedly thanked Coachella for making her the first black woman to headline the festival — adding sardonically, “Ain’t that about a bitch?”
A release announcing the scholarship reads in part: “The show, with its homage to excellence in education, was a celebration of the homecoming weekend experience, the highest display of college pride. The energy-filled production put the spotlight on art and culture, mixing the ancient and the modern, which resonated masterfully through the marching band, performance art, choir and dance. It was the impetus to mark her second scholarship program.”
“We salute the rich legacy of Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” said Ivy McGregor, Director of Philanthropy and Corporate Relations at Parkwood Entertainment which houses BeyGOOD. “We honor all institutions of higher learning for maintaining culture and creating environments for optimal learning which expands dreams and the seas of possibilities for students.”
One winner from each school will receive $25K for the 2018-2019 academic year for study in various fields. This is the second year for a scholars program created by the singer: The Formation Scholars Awards Program, a merit scholarship program was established in April 2017 in celebration of the one-year anniversary of Beyonce’s 2016 album “Lemonade.” The awards encouraged and supported “young women who are bold, creative, conscious, confident and unafraid to think outside of the box.”
The Homecoming Scholars Award Program for 2018-2019 will expand to all qualifying students at the four universities, regardless of gender. The disciplines will include literature, creative arts, African-American studies, science, education, business, communications, social sciences, computer science and engineering. All applicants must maintain a 3.5 GPA or above. All finalists and winners will be selected by the universities. Winners will be announced in the summer.
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