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Bessie Smith Estate

Scholarship Program


The Bessie Smith Scholarship Program

The Bessie Smith Estate is a non-profit organization that offers scholarships to African American students attending an accredited college or university.

The scholarship program was created in honor of the famous blues singer, who had a passion for education and wanted to make higher education accessible for everyone.

Two music lovers founded the Bessie Smith Scholarship Program to provide financial assistance for those pursuing a degree in music or involved in music-related careers. The scholarships will be awarded on merit and need annually.

These scholarships will benefit the intended audience

Since many people do not have access to higher education due to lack of resources, these scholarships will benefit the intended audience.

The application deadline is October 31st, and recipients are announced in December of each year. This scholarship program provides anyone interested in music or education to pursue their goals without worry about finances.

What's Bessie Smith Estate Scholarship Program All About?

Bessie Smith Estate Scholarship Program awards $1000 scholarships to African American students attending an accredited college or university.

The scholarship is funded through donations from the Bessie Smith Foundation and others passionate about education in America.

This scholarship program aims to help alleviate financial barriers for black students with exceptional academic potential, ensuring that they can pursue higher education.

The Bessie Smith Foundation Scholarship Program will be awarded annually on September 18th - the birthday of the great Bessie Smith, one of America's most influential singers and songwriters.

The first Bessie Smith Foundation Scholarship will be awarded to a deserving third-year student at Berkley College of Music, where she studied and wrote her most famous songs.


Bessie Smith Estate Scholarship Program Overall Goals

Bessie Smith Scholarship Program was founded to meet specific educational goals. The main ones include:

  • To provide scholarships in the name of Bessie Smith, who believed that higher education should be accessible for everyone.
  • Recognize the work that Bessie Smith put forth in her life to make a positive change through music.
  • Bring more attention to an influential female singer who paved the way for many other artists today.

The central purpose of these scholarships is to provide financial assistance for those pursuing a degree in music or who are involved in music-related careers.

Open to any student with the following qualifications

Bessie Smith Estate Scholarship Program is open to any student with the following qualifications:

  • A strong academic record and passion for learning, especially students from diverse backgrounds.
  • Demonstrated high ambition; committed to building their skills and making a positive impact through their work.
  • Students must be attending an accredited undergraduate institution to be eligible for the scholarship program.

The total award amount is $500 per semester and will not exceed four semesters of eligibility. This would cover tuition expenses, books, living costs, or transportation fees associated with school attendance; it does not include any other expenses.


You Too Can Get Your Bessie Smith Scholarship Today!

If you feel you're most qualified for the Bessie Smith Scholarship program, you have just enough chance of securing one like anyone else. You can apply for one, and you can apply with the hope that it'll be yours.

The Bessie Smith Scholarship is open to all students pursuing an undergraduate degree at a public institution of higher education in America.

To apply, you can visit the scholarship website and submit your completed application.

How and why and was the Bessie Smith scholarship founded?

The Bessie Smith Scholarship was established to help students in need with financial aid. Bessie Smith, although she had a very limited education, understood the importance of knowledge. She was one of the first Black women to take control of her own business handlings. At the time, women couldn't even legally sign anything. Men were the only people who could sign legal papers but that didn't stop Bessie from teaching herself to learn business and controlling her own life. The scholarship will enable some other child who comes from poor backgrounds to be given a chance to succeed.

What was the motivating factor behind its foundation?
Bessie Smith herself. Without the foundation the history of Bessie and the contributions she made to the music industry would die out and today's and future generations would never know who she was and what she accomplished. Without Bessie Smith, Beyoncé and other black female artists wouldn't have had a platform for their music and ticket to stardom.

What are her major contributions to society?

Bessie pushed the envelope of not only what a black woman can accomplish but how those accomplishments can transcend over into a white audience. She single- handily saved Columbia records.

She showed that a black woman could be independant, strong, their own individual being, that they didn't have to fit into a white persons "viewpoint box" of being light skinned, thin and pretty to be a success.

She didn't need a man to survive. She was a feminist long before that phrase was popular.

Her music was from the soul and spoke of what the poor and working class dealt with everyday. If a comparison has to be made it was the blues version of country music. It was relatable to many which is why it was universal.

In spite of her fast rising success she also always gave back. She never hesitated to help out others in need. Her actions weren't advertised and used as publicity... she just silently followed her heart.

Her biggest accomplishment to sum it all up is that she showed, in a time period where black women were on the lowest rung of society, that a black woman can come from nothing and still reach the goal of being successful and in charge of her own life.


How do we get her legacy to go on?

We are extending her legacy not only with the foundation and scholarship but we are also actively in the process of doing a film about Bessie and her husband, Jack Gee titled "Jack and the Empress. It is not a typical biopic since that has been done but instead shows everything through their life's from the viewpoint of their relationship. It is as much about being Black from the late 1800's through the 1930's as about just Bessie and her career. The film will be released by Sony in 2023.

We are also in the process of turning Bessie's life into a Broadway musical in conjunction with Paul McCartney. We also hope to get that done sometime in 2023 but truthfully that might take longer.


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