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The cultural impact of “Tiffany Blue” reached new heights when Beyoncé and Jay-Z appeared in Tiffany & Co.’s About Love campaign in late August, pictured with a previously unseen and privately owned Jean-Michel Basquiat painting titled “Equals Pi.” Fittingly, the work’s backdrop is a bright, robin’s egg blue not unlike the boxes Tiffany’s jewelry comes in.
Now, following the launch of the company’s Fall 2021 campaign, Tiffany and Co. has announced further details about the About Love Scholarship Program created in partnership with BeyGOOD and the Shawn Carter Foundation; a pledge to donate $2 million dollars in scholarship funding for students enrolled at five of the U.S.’s historically black colleges and universities who are focused on the arts.
Applicants must qualify for financial aid at one of the participating schools — Pennsylvania’s Lincoln University, Virginia’s Norfolk State University, North Carolina’s Bennett College, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Ohio’s Central State University — and must be pursuing a degree in creative fields, like visual arts, performance, or design; history; or communications. The deadline to apply for the scholarships is Sept. 26.
“We are appreciative of the support of BeyGood, the Shawn Carter Foundation, The Carters and Tiffany & Co.,” said Dr. Jack Thomas, president of Central State University in a statement. “This opportunity is timely as our students come from many different socioeconomic backgrounds. These funds will have a tremendous effect on who we recruit and our students’ success as they move on to graduate and professional schools and into their careers.”
Soon after the campaign debuted in August, questions quickly arose about the partnership with some commentators criticizing Beyoncé’s decision to wear the famed Tiffany Diamond 128.54-carat yellow diamond in the advertising campaign and not acknowledge the stone’s troubling colonial backstory and the bloody history of gemstone mining in Africa. The diamond — only worn by three women before her — was discovered in South Africa’s Kimberley diamond mines in 1877 under British rule. (It was purchased the following year by Charles Lewis Tiffany for $18,000, and is now worth an estimated $30 million.)
A scholarship designed for Black students to have greater access to creative studies is a way of acknowledging the Carters’ commitment, as both a unit and as individual artists, to prioritizing impactful cultural representation.
On Sept. 13, Beyoncé can be seen again sporting the Tiffany Diamond in a newly released one-minute short film, directed by Emmanuel Adjei (co-director of Black is King) that harkens back to Audrey Hepburn, one of the only other women to wear the stone. In the video, filmed at the Orum House in Los Angeles’ Bel Air neighborhood, the singer croons “Moon River,” the iconic song from Hepburn’s film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Jay-Z is seen filming her with a Super 8 camera while wearing another well-known Tiffany piece, Jean Schlumberger’s legendary Bird on a Rock brooch.
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