According to the press release, the program is “a seven-month cosmetology training course for adult men and women.” L’Oréal has donated all the products to be used at the center, and their spokeswoman Beyoncé, along with her mother, have pledged to donate $100,000 annually.
After brief remarks by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Tina Knowles, among others, Beyoncé graciously took to the podium to explain both her ties to the house — she first visited in 2007 as part of research for her role as Etta James in “Cadillac Records” — and her hopes for the program.
While Phoenix House provides varied vocational training, “I felt like they needed something that was geared towards women — something that would teach them skills that would give them hope even after the Phoenix House,” Beyoncé explained about why she chose to fund a beauty school. Her mother also owned and operated a salon in Knowles’ hometown of Houston.
“I saw that a salon was a place for women to socialize, share stories, cry, laugh and get advice,” she continued about her experiences growing up around a beauty parlor. She was close to tears as she added, “Most importantly, I saw the joy it brought my mother, knowing she was a part of their transformation.”
B admired the strength of the women and men who’ve chosen to go to Phoenix House, citing the stigma placed on the disease of drug and alcohol abuse, and that while none of them chose to be addicts, they have all “chosen to get better.” As the speech ended and a brief set of photo ops — including the cutting of a ceremonial ribbon — began, Beyoncé took to the microphone one last time. “It’s a very proud day for me and my mother,” she beamed.