The NAACP and Lancôme are continuing the advancement of young Black women with the beauty brands “Write Your Future” scholarship program. This year, the partnership awarded 40 recipients participating in NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics, ACT-SO. The competition is a part of the annual National Convention hosted by the NAACP.
“This partnership is reflective of our continued work to expand opportunities and support for young Black women, ensuring that their full potential is realized,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson.” We recognize their exceptional talent and limitless potential, and it is our responsibility to ensure they receive the resources they deserve to make their mark on the world and truly thrive.”
Each recipient was awarded $10,000 for each who shared talents in STEM and business and visual, performing, and culinary arts. The grant comes with a mentoring program by Lancôme, aimed at empowering recipients and offering opportunities for learning and career growth. Lancôme USA General Manager Giovanni Valentini shares how thrilled he is to partner with the legacy organization for a second year, applauding their ongoing dedication to inspiring young Black women to pursue their aspirations.
“At Lancôme we are strongly committed to address and serve women’s beauty needs in all their diversity both externally and internally,” Valentini said. “As a result, we are very excited to partner again with NAACP ACT-SO to provide grants, mentorship and internship opportunities to these young women who have such a bright future ahead of them.”
Awarding the recipients on behalf of Lancôme were Project Runway judge and New York Times bestselling author Elaine Welteroth, Fashion and Beauty Expert and Editor Kahlana Barfield-Brown, Model, and Body Positive Advocate Achieng Agutu and 2022 Write Your Future inaugural recipient Zayda Adams. The three hosted the Unlocking Your Potential in College & Navigating the Transition Panel, discussing how their collegiate journeys impacted their success today.
“The crowd of young girls were really engaged. I think it’s because each of us come from such a different perspective and had such different college experiences that they could draw from,” Welteroth told ESSENCE. “I would say the path I took instilled in me early that you can’t rely on anyone to get where you want to be. You have to make it happen through hard work, clear vision, relentless determination and faith in yourself.”
For Barfield-Brown, her journey into beauty dates back to her days at Howard University, which helped spark her desire to enter the industry professionally. “It was a dream come true when I eventually got the chance to work with Lancôme later in my career,” Barfield told ESSENCE. “Our core values synced perfectly, and the Write Your Future program exemplifies that beautiful alignment. I know from personal experience how much receiving scholarships helped me and my family during my college journey. It’s incredible to see Lancôme stepping up to support Black girls pursuing higher education.”