Friday, March 5, was an incredible day for all of us at Phoenix House. Pop superstar Beyoncé and her mother, fashion designer Tina Knowles joined us for the opening of the Beyoncé Cosmetology Center at our Phoenix House Career Academy in Brooklyn. The new Cosmetology Center will offer a seven-month cosmetology training course, helping our clients gain the career skills they need to lead productive, rewarding lives in recovery.
At the ribbon cutting ceremony—after remarks from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, OASAS Commissioner Karen Carpenter-Palumbo, and Tina Knowles—Beyoncé spoke about meeting with women in treatment at Phoenix House while preparing for the role of Etta James in the 2008 film Cadillac Records. “Through their stories, I realized that all of us have our personal struggles and we all have something to overcome,” she said. “Drug addiction…has a stigma that must be removed. Addiction is a disease and these beautiful women I met did not choose to become addicts, but they have chosen to get better.”
Later donating her salary from the film, Beyoncé wanted to create a program that was geared toward women, “something that would teach them skills that would give them hope even after Phoenix House.” Together, she and her mother, who owned a popular hair salon in Houston when she was growing up, came up with the idea of our new cosmetology program.
As a child, she observed that her mother’s salon was a place for women to “share stories, cry, laugh, and get advice”—and she wanted to bring that experience the women at Phoenix House. “The first sign of recovery is caring about your appearance,” she said. “And hopefully, this Center will be a place that will change lots of lives every year.”
We express our heartfelt gratitude to Beyoncé and Miss Tina for their tremendous gift, which will indeed change lives.
Check out the coverage below and stay tuned for more: