By Keona Frasier
Following a historical performance at the 2018 Coachella Music Festival, Beyoncé, through the BeyGOOD initiative, has announced that one student from four different historically black colleges or universities (HBCUs) will be awarded with a $25,000 scholarship through the Homecoming Scholars Award Program.
The 2018-2019 academic year’s BeyGOOD scholars program will be extended to students attending Xavier University in New Orleans, Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, OH., Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, AL. and Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, FL. The scholarship is offered to students across multiple disciplines and requires a 3.5 GPA minimum for qualification.
The Homecoming Scholars Award Program is the second program designed under Beyoncé’s BeyGOOD initiative. In 2017, the Formation Scholars Award Program was established during the one-year anniversary of Beyonce’s well-renowned album, “Lemonade.”
“We salute the rich legacy of Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” Ivy McGregor, Director of Philanthropy and Corporate Relations at Parkwood Entertainment which houses BeyGOOD said in a statement. “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.”
On April 14, Beyoncé highlighted her appreciation of HBCU culture on the Coachella stage, while also becoming the first African American woman to headline the festival. Beyoncé made a grand entrance, in HBCU fashion, and performed alongside a marching band and majorettes.
Fans were ecstatic to watch the positive depiction of a black-centered educational space and Beyoncé’s incorporation of HBCU Greek culture into the already extravagant set. The announcement of the Homecoming Scholars Award Program carried the trending discussion of HBCU pride even further.
“I think that the essence of HBCUs has kind of been forgotten in a sense, and I think she decided to choose that [the performance] to one, remind everyone of what the potential and what the power of HBCUs can do when it comes to music and influence,” said Chaz Bailey, a senior mass communications major at Norfolk State University. “I do still think the HBCU is a hub, a safe place for black people to come connect and conjugate, formulate, to build and network. To me, that was one of the reasons she chose to use HBCUs at Coachella.”
The highly-publicized performance not only exposed the large, diverse crowd to HBCU traditions, but it also served as a reminder of what kind of support programs, such as the Homecoming Scholars Award Program, could provide for students that attend HBCUs.
“Not everyone understands the culture of an HBCU. If you never taught at one or never attended, it’s something you just have to experience,” said Dr. Roy Belfield, an adjunct professor at Norfolk State.” “…She knows the importance of having a good education; I think she understands that not every family can afford to send students or their children to school. So, she’s trying to help out in her own way.”
According to Beyoncé’s official website, winners will selected by the universities and announced this summer.