Beyonce’s mum Tina Knowles and her actor husband Richard Lawson are opening a theater for young performers in California.
Wannabes between the ages of 12 and 14 will be able to sign up for a one-year mentorship program at the Where Art Can Occur Theater Center in North Hollywood, run by Tina’s Angels and Richard’s Warriors.
The 15 girls in Knowles‘ group come from Kipp Academy in Los Angeles – the 63-year-old works with them every Saturday.
“We’re both firm believers that you have to have a space for the community, especially right now, because all the music programs are being cut out of schools,” she says. “When my kids were young, there was a place called The Shrine of the Black Madonna (which is also a cultural and community center) in Houston, Texas, where they grew up. It impacted my children. I always wanted to have something like that.”
Through the mentorship program, the performers will meet with working professionals from different career areas and Tina will be on hand to provide lessons in etiquette, self-esteem and hygiene.
They will also have opportunities to meet Tina’s famous daughters, Beyonce and Solange, and Kelly Rowland, Jennifer Hudson, Holly Robinson Peete, among others.
Last month (Mar17), the Drunk in Love singer made a surprise appearance at a Tina’s Angels charity event at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City.
Tina credits her experience with the Alvin Ailey dancers for wanting to get involved with mentoring.
“My brother’s girlfriend took me to see the Alvin Ailey dancers and it changed my life,” she continues.
“I was from this small town and my parents were poor. My mom did the best she could in terms of exposing us to what she could with the money she had, but to see all of those beautiful women of color, that looked like me, up there dancing – it made me want more.”
Later this month (Apr17), Tina will host a fundraising gala for the theatre centre. The Los Angeles event on 29 April (17) will be co-chaired by her famous daughters.
“It’s definitely a family affair,” she says. “My girls do a lot of philanthropic work, but they are very private about it. For them to do this is really big, but I’m mom, so I can kind of twist their arms.”
Tina will also receive the Community Commerce Impact Award for her work with young women at Variety’s Power of Women luncheon in New York on Friday (21Apr17).