In April, superstar Beyonce announced the establishment of the Formation Scholars awards for the 2017-2018 academic year to celebrate the one-year anniversary of LEMONADE.
Four women were to be awarded per a list of colleges; the Berklee College of Music, Howard University, Parsons School of Design and Spelman College. Beyonce had said that the Formation Scholars awards were to “encourage and support young women who are unafraid to think outside the box and are bold, creative, conscious and confident.”
Four scholarships would go to female incoming, current or graduate students pursuing studies in creative arts, music, literature or African-American studies.
Last week, Beyonce announced the four recipients of the “Formation” scholarship. Four beautiful and inspiring women won the generous Formation Scholars awards and we know you are definitely curious about them.
Here are the four recipients of the Formation Scholars awards and what you should know about them;
The winner from Howard University is a songwriter and vocalist whose story should inspire anyone. She was in a car crash in 2013 and suffered a traumatic brain injury. She recovered after undergoing therapy integrated with music. According to her, recovery was a frightening and fascinating time of her life, and music played a large role in her regaining the ability to read, write, play music, and sing.
Howard said in a news release that Maya Rogers will receive a $25,000 scholarship and that the funds will help her greatly in finishing up her program in music therapy.
To win, applicants were required to send in an essay about “Lemonade,” and how the album “inspired their educational goals,” Maya Rogers says that as part of her essay she “talked about how when really tough situations happen, how to kind of take something that seems very sour, like lemons, and create something that’s more pleasant, and how you become more resilient as a byproduct of going through a situation.”
Avery Youngblood is an undergraduate student in the AAS (Associates) Graphic Design program at Parsons School of Design. She also recently graduated from Stanford University where she studied Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity and Linguistics. She uses graphic design as a tool for activism.
Avery is the head of the political action committee for Stanford’s Black Student Union and she helped coordinate Black Women’s History Month on campus. Beyonce says that “Avery discovered that it was possible to translate her creative curiosity for design by focusing on language and the social interaction that takes place in our multicultural society, and the variety of platforms we use to connect with one another.”
According to Avery, after seeing Lemonade, she was inspired to pursue activism through art and her $25,000 scholarship should surely help her learn exactly how to do just that.
From Spelman College comes Bria Paige a rising junior English major. She is a 2017 UNCF Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow and plans to pursue a doctorate in English literature and Black feminist scholarship.
Her undergraduate research as a Fellow will focus on Black women and their political spaces, using the English discipline as the primary framework for her investigation and analysis. According to Paige, “‘Lemonade’ inspired my Mellon research proposal, ultimately fueling my desire to pursue doctoral studies centered on Black feminist thought and contribute to the evolvement of diverse scholarship within academia.”
Along with her impressive academic record which has secured her position on the Dean’s List, Bria holds various leadership positions, including Spelman Student Government Association (SSGA) Secretary of Academic Affairs and co-President of the English Club.
The last recipient of the Formation Scholars awards from the Berklee College of Music is Sadiya Ramos. Ramos is the youngest of the recipients and actually started dancing when she was just six years old. She is now studying dance at Boston Conservatory at Berklee.
While she was a high school senior, the talented young dancer collaborated with hip-hop artist MoNL Music to create a peaceful protest against police brutality. She aims to shed light on current events with her work.