Janet Vernette Woodson-Holmes
Memorial Scholarship Fund
For those who don't know me, my name is Kia Morgan Smith, co-Founder of Brown Girl Magic and an accomplished journalist and mom to Brown Girl Magic's Founder, Mikaela Sydney Smith.
On Oct. 29, 2019, my dear sister Janet Vernette Woodson-Holmes was tragically killed along with her son, my nephews, Sy-eed, lil Leslie and her husband Leslie Holmes.
It was a life-changing event that shook me and my family to the core. Mikaela and my other children lost a beautiful aunt and her beautiful family. And it was even more shocking to learn that Janet's eldest son committed the crime and was suffering from a mental illness. Read more about that here.
But we don't want to focus on how Janet's life ended. We want to focus on how she lived. Janet was a light and beloved by all who knew her. Her passion was being a hair stylist and she worked many years tirelessly styling hair for many people after graduating from Edward Bok Technical High School in Philadelphia. She later started her own business and opened her own hair salon. I can remember the days as a youth always visiting my sister to fix my hair for every occasion; from my high school prom, to my first wedding and even doing my hair so I could be a bridesmaid in her wedding early on. She always gave me tips on how to best style her nieces hair and fussed me out for even thinking about perming my kids hair. To this day, Mikaela's hair has remained natural thanks to Janet's invaluable hair tips. I remember several years ago Janet cut my hair so short and I was so mad. But it ended up being the best haircut I have ever received because it grew into a layered cut that was truly laid.
Janet was talented, skilled, creative, kind and just a beautiful soul. This was her passion and she changed lives in the process by touching the lives of the women she serviced. She was everybody's sister.
Janet was MAGIC and losing her was a tremendous loss.
So Mikaela, the Founder and CEO of Brown Girl Magic, LLC wanted to honor her aunt's memory, her tenacity and entrepreneurship by awarding the first Janet Vernette Woodson-Holmes Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $500 to any Philadelphia-based graduating senior from a Philly high school pursuing a career in cosmetology or related field.
Janet Vernette Woodson-Holmes
Mikaela is an entrepreneur just like her aunt was. Brown Girl Magic is her business and her dream and she wants to use it to help other teens in remembrance of her aunt Janet. So a portion of every T-Shirt sale will benefit the scholarship fund.
Janet died while in the middle of renovating a building in West Philadelphia for her new hair salon. She never got the chance to see it open.
We want to help a deserving African-American female student get a jump start on pursuing a promising career as a hair stylist.
In order to qualify please follow directions in order to apply:
Please email us a minimum 500-word essay, about who you are, your passion and why you think you would benefit from receiving the Janet Vernette Woodson-Holmes Scholarship.
Must have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Must attach proof of GPA. Your application will not be considered without it.
Please include your name, your address, your school and all contact info including a phone number.
Attach a clear headshot photo of you alone.
Please make sure your essay is clear of spelling errors.
Make sure you include in the subject line of email, "Scholarship applicant."
Send the essay to
Be sure to follow all our social media to stay abreast of any updates or announcements!
Submit by DEADLINE JUNE 1, 2021
Disclaimer: Scholarship money awarded to recipient will be sent directly to the school of choice and applicant must receive acceptance at a technical school, college or university before disbursement. (Does not have to be Philly based college.)
All info will be verified.
Winner will be notified by August 2021.
**Relatives are not eligible to apply.
**A portion of all t-shirt sales will support the scholarship
(Anyone other than applicants who want to contribute to this fund, please do so here.)