Looking every bit as beautiful and glamorous as her superstar persona, pop diva Beyoncé, and her mother Tina Knowles came to DUMBO last week to helppeople addled by drug and alcohol addiction.
The two fought back tears recalling the days when Tina owned a popular Houston beauty salon as they announced the funding and opening of the Beyoncé Cosmetology Center at the Phoenix House Career Academy, 50 Jay Street.
“I remember my mother’s hair salon and the stories all the women would tell. How they laughed and cried together and left looking beautiful. I loved spending time at the salon,” said Beyoncé, choking up.
Beyoncé related how she first came to know the DUMBO chapter of Phoenix House, the nation’s leading non-profit provider of substance abuse and prevention services, when she was preparing for the role of Etta James in the 2008 film “Cadillac Records.”
To play the part of the former heroin addict, Beyoncé met with women in treatment at the Career Academy, and she was so moved by their powerful stories of addiction and recovery that she later donated her salary from the film.
Then last year, she and her mother, who is also her business partner and a fashion designer, conceived of the idea of Phoenix House’s new cosmetology program.
The Beyoncé Cosmetology Center, which Beyonce is also funding, will offer a seven-month cosmetology training course for adult men and women, teaching the theory and practical skills that the recovering addicts need to pass the New York State Cosmetology Licensure Exam.
As Beyoncé is a spokesperson for L’Oréal Paris, the company is generously providing all makeup, skin care, and hair care products.
“We were thrilled when Beyoncé and her mother Tina approached us about creating a cosmetology center for our clients,” said Phoenix House President and CEO Howard Meitiner. “Their generosity and compassion toward the men and women we serve is extraordinary. With this tremendous gift, they have given our clients a route to achieve successful, rewarding lives in recovery.”
Tina Knowles recalled how some of the stylists in her salon struggled with addiction and other problems, but when they got behind the styling chair they could “throw down” with the best of stylists and how the trade changed their lives.
“We all make mistakes, but as I learned from my daughter, it’s not how you fall down, but how you get up,” she said.