Beyonce has marked the anniversary of her Lemonade album by launching a college scholarship programme for young women.
On Monday (24Apr17), the singer announced she would be funding four Formation Scholars in the 2017-2018 academic year, giving those selected the chance to attend university.
The scholarships will be awarded to those who wish to study music, the creative arts, African-American studies and literature.
Beyonce’s announcement stated she was launching the programme to “encourage and support young women who are unafraid to think outside the box and are bold, creative, conscious, and confident”.
Scholars will be offered places at Berklee College of Music, Howard University, Parsons School of Design, and Spelman College.
The announcement coincided with the first anniversary of the surprise release of her visual album Lemonade, which debuted on U.S. network HBO on 23 April last year (16).
The album and accompanying hour-long film drew praise from critics for its tackling of social issues affecting African-American women.
Lemonade marked Beyonce’s increasing embrace of activism, with the track Formation causing controversy due to its perceived criticism of police officers’ treatment of African-Americans.
When asked about the song in an interview with the U.S. edition of Elle magazine she said she respected the police but added, “I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things. If celebrating my roots and culture during Black History Month made anyone uncomfortable, those feelings were there long before a video and long before me.”