Mary J. Blige and PepsiCo.Inc. has partnered to ease the economic burden of obtaining a higher education. The singer and global food and beverage brand will give away a $30,000 scholarship to a sophomore woman enrolled at Hampton University.
There are additional requirements to be a candidate for the Strength of a Woman scholarship. The sophomore woman must have full-time enrollment for the 2024-2025 school year with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Additionally, she must be studying “business administration, marketing, arts, finance, or creative design.”
Mary J. Blige will not be selecting the winner. Scholarship America will handle the selection and distribution process. The application deadline is Oct. 16. They will notify applicants about a winner this December, but payment won’t be issued until next August.
The scholarship is named after Mary’s 13th studio album of the same name. She released the project in April 2017. Reports of the scholarship began circulating on Friday (Oct. 6). But Mary has not spoken about the scholarship on her social media accounts as of Monday.
In 2017, she reportedly told Big Issue that her rebelliousness as a teen “messed up [her] education.”
“When I was in 11th grade, I dropped out of high school. I definitely regret it. I really wish that I had finished getting my education. Then again, I look at it and ask myself if I would be this person if I had finished school. Would I be this Mary J. Blige today?”
It’s unclear why Mary or otherwise chose Hampton University as the recipient college. However, news of the singer and Pepsi’s partnership initially came in May via a press release for their “Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit,” which the global company sponsors. The press release mentioned a scholarship for an HBCU student but did not specify Hampton.
At the time, Mary said in the press release:
“The whole mission of this festival is to celebrate and advocate for Black women,” said global icon Mary J. Blige, “so to have Pepsi, show up and show out in the way they do is overwhelming. With their support for the Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit, we are able to pay it forward in so many impactful ways and to be able to grant an HBCU scholarship for a deserving student is nothing short of incredible.”