Beyoncé Chooses Berklee

In celebration of the one-year anniversary of the critically acclaimed and academically heralded visual album Lemonade, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter chose Berklee to receive a $25,000 Formation Scholars Award. The scholarship was instituted to encourage the educational pursuit of undergraduate and postgraduate female students for the 2017-2018 academic year.

More than 250 students from Berklee (Boston and Valencia campuses, the Boston Conservatory at Berklee and Berklee Online) vied for the competitive scholarship that was ultimately awarded to Sadiya Ramos, a sophomore studying dance at Boston Conservatory at Berklee. Applicants were required to have a GPA  of 3.5 or above and provide a portfolio and compelling essay on how the Lemonade album inspired their educational goals.

The Formation Scholars Award encourages and supports young women who are unafraid to think outside the box and are bold, creative, conscious, and confident. In addition to Berklee, Spelman College, Howard University, and Parsons School of Design were chosen to receive this prestigious award.

Ramos, who is originally from Suffern, NY, began dancing at the age of six under the guidance of Arthur Mitchell at the Dance Theatre of Harlem, where she was selected to perform with their ensemble at the Kennedy Center and the White House. By the age of eight, she was studying at Ballet Academy East’s pre-professional program with Darla Hoover. Ramos worked with François Perron at the French Academie of Ballet as a teenager to acquire the instruction needed to develop her individual style and improve her performance skills.

While training with the Debbie Allen Dance Academy during the summer of 2015, Ramos was invited to perform with Allen’s dancers for the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and was also selected to dance on stage as Stevie Wonder performed at the event. 

“I am tremendously humbled and honored to receive Beyoncé’s Formation Scholars Award on behalf of Boston Conservatory at Berklee,” Ramos says. “Beyoncé’s artistry and determination have inspired me as a dancer, and I plan to pay tribute and build on her legacy at the conservatory with this scholarship.”

“We at Berklee love Beyoncé,” Berklee President Roger H. Brown says. “As a singer, writer, producer, performer, and humanitarian, Beyoncé is a strong and inspiring role model for our students. Her original all-female band included a current professor and two Berklee alumnae. Beyoncé’s support for a female student studying at Berklee will have an impact on the global music industry, and further Beyoncé’s own mission of artistic excellence and innovative business practices that have made her the most compelling artist of the 21st century.”

Last spring, Berklee hosted a 10-year anniversary celebration of Beyoncé’s original all-female band at the Berklee Performance Center. The concert featured Berklee alumni and faculty members who have toured with Beyoncé, including Tia Fuller, a professor in Berklee’s Ensemble Department, Nikki Glaspie ’04, Rie Tsuji B.M. ’02, and dancer Ebony Williams B.F.A. ’05.