Lancôme is continuing its commitment to supporting young Black students through its Write Her Future Scholarship fund.
On Sunday, at the NAACP National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the beauty brand awarded 40 Black women college students from across the U.S. $10,000 scholarships each to fund their chosen career paths.
Announcing the scholarship recipients was Oscar-award-winning actress and Lancôme ambassador Lupita Nyong’o, who donned a lilac cape dress for the ceremony.
“While we’re here to celebrate your boldness and brilliance, I am here to introduce a special moment powered by Lancôme in partnership with the NAACP and ACT-SO,” Nyong’o said. “This year, 40 ACT-SO women will receive $10,000 scholarships from the inaugural Write Her Future Scholarship fund. That’s right — $400,000 in scholarships to foster self-empowerment and fulfillment through education and empowerment of young women. The Write Her Future Scholarship fund promotes three actions: providing scholarships for the next generation of women of color in the United States who are seeking to further their education; awarding internships and workforce development training at [Lancôme], and offering mentorship, coaching and entrepreneurship resources to all young women to better prepare for their entry to the workforce and the launch of their own businesses.”
In 2021, Lancôme announced its partnership with the NAACP, specifically its ACT-SO [the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics] achievement program, a yearlong program that provides scholarship opportunities for high school students and helps fuel their growth in disciplines through various projects and efforts.
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The Write Her Future program’s aim is to support young Black women in their career aspirations, through not only funding but providing them with mentorship and career opportunities as well.
“In the U.S., we are determined to further this mission by providing equitable educational opportunities for young women of color to ensure that all voices are heard at the table,” Giovanni Valentini, Lancôme U.S.A.’s general manager, told WWD via email. “Through the partnership, Write Her Future is better positioned to reach a wider network and provide young women of color greater access to higher learning, enabling them to achieve their goals.”
Valentini said Lancôme has pledged an additional $2 million dollars to the Write Her Future program by 2025.
The partnership is the first step in creating more resources for Black women’s education, something Yumeka Rushing, chief strategy officer for the NAACP, says is vital.
“Our youth are the backbone of our future, yet so many young Black women often struggle with the decision to pursue higher education due to a lack of financial resources,” Rushing said. “For more than a century, NAACP has been at the forefront of the fight to ensure that every young person has access to the education they deserve, and we are thrilled to continue expanding our efforts with partners such as Lancôme.”
Sy’Maya Summiel, one of the Write Her Future scholarship recipients, attends The College of New Jersey, majoring in music education with the goal of making music her career.
“My goal in life is to become a musician within a professional symphony orchestra, and in pit orchestras for Broadway or various musical productions,” she told WWD. “I believe this scholarship will contribute to the furthering of my education in college. I’m excited to start college to prepare for this wonderful career!”
Jibiana Jakpor, another recipient and four year ACT-SO scholar who attends Stanford University is pursuing a career in computer science, with the aim of becoming a computer science researcher.
“I am thankful for the scholarship to put toward my dreams and for the community of Black women who excel in what they do. I am also honored that I can be in the inaugural cohort: the first class sets the tone, and it is a privilege to be chosen as an explorer on this first journey into new territory,” Jakpor said.
As for what other beauty brands can do to further the education of young women of color, Rushing says it all starts with helping fuel opportunities to succeed.
“Access to education means access to opportunity. We know that representation matters,” she said. “As Black women continue to pursue higher education and are provided with the professional opportunities they deserve, we will begin to see the representation across all industries that have been absent for far too long.”