Upon its release, Lemonade, Beyonce’s sixth album, was hailed as an incisive piece of social commentary exploring love, infidelity, race, power and oppression. A cultural and commercial juggernaut, it spawned a stunning “visual album” that premiered on HBO, a world tour, and 12 singles that appeared on the Billboard 100 charts.
In honor of the one-year anniversary of the album’s release, Beyonce earlier this year announced the Formation Scholarship, a one-time $25,000 scholarship to be awarded to one student each from Parsons School of Design, Berklee School of Music, Howard University, and Spelman College.
Avery Youngblood, AAS Graphic Design ’18, was recently announced as the Parsons winner of the scholarship for her work that promotes activism through bold, creative methods. The leading art and design school also awarded $5,000 to each of the scholarship’s four finalists: Leah Takele, MFA Design and Technology ‘18; Bailey Hardaway, BFA Fashion Design ‘19; Olufunmilayo Bright, MFA Fine Arts ‘18; Caroline Macfarlane, MS Design and Urban Ecologies ’18.
“I hope to pursue my goals as the woman that Beyonce looked for in a scholar, which is to be bold, unique, creative, and think outside the box,” Youngblood says.
Youngblood, who previously studied Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity and Linguistics at Stanford, uses graphic design as a tool for activism. As the head of the political action committee for Stanford’s Black Student Union, she helped coordinate Black Women’s History Month on campus.
“Linguistics has allowed me to analyze the language of prejudices and discrimination that limits and surrounds communities that face discrimination, and then I attempt to represent those in the creative form with design,” says Youngblood. “Parsons has taught me that every aspect of design, however subtle or nuanced, plays a crucial role in communicating messages.”
After seeing Lemonade, Youngblood was inspired to pursue activism through art.
“I want my designs to cross boundaries from the self, to voicing a perspective from the ‘other,’” says Youngblood. “That voice is all too often unheard, misunderstood, or misrepresented in the broader social realm.”