Solange Knowles was recognized on Friday, February 28, 2020 at Town Hall in New York for her tremendous contributions to her community. The 33-year-old music star received the inaugural Lena Horne Prize for Artists Creating Social Impact and we couldn’t think of a better person to be the first-ever recipient of this prestigious award.
Knowles’ mother Tina Lawson and her husband Richard Lawson attended the ceremony to support her and Solange humbly collected the prize for “excellence at the intersection of arts and activism.”
“My favorite song is ‘Where Do We Go?’ because it talks about the gentrifying of the neighborhoods and it’s a true story,” mom Tina told Billboard. “She tried to go to her house and she couldn’t because it was blocked off and she wasn’t allowed to go there. And I’ve felt that so many times in my life, like, where’s our place? Where do we go and who’s gonna accept us as we are? As amazing as we are…”
Solange received $100,000, which she will turn over to Project Row Houses, a Houston-based nonprofit, and gushed over the accolade, “I will never forget being a young girl and the impact of hearing the great Lena Horne so radiantly and powerfully singing the words ‘believe in yourself’ from that remarkable moment in The Wiz… I have carried it with me closely my entire life.”
She added in a statement, “At the age of 12, I played this very role at the Ensemble Theatre in Houston, Texas and it was then I learned about Lena’s dedicated activism and fearless integrity as a woman and groundbreaking artist. I am honored to be receiving an award that bears her name and continues her legacy of using the arts to inspire reflection and evoke change.”
Knowles also noted: “I know that these speeches are meant to be aspirational, leaving you feeling warm and fuzzy and inspiring you to be yourself,” she continued. “But I’d like to have the space right now to be all of these things. I’m honored to be all the things that my mother and my dear friend Toyin [Oijih Odutola, a visual artist] have said, but I’m also in a moment of great transition and transformation and we all deserve the space to be all of those things — the space to love my people, to vow to continue fighting for us, for our peace, uplift us, make us seen and heard, celebrate our undeniable supreme light while trying really hard to find my own.”
Also in attendance to celebrate both women and their tenacity to affect change were artists like Andra Day, Alice Smith, Leon Bridges, Rapsody, Talib Kweli, and performer BJ The Chicago Kid.
“That’s always been necessary. It’s not just necessary today and in these times, but it always has been — because without women there’s no men,” voiced BJ before his performance.
Congrats to this WAGNN Girl!
Photo credit: Ovidiu Hrubaru / Shutterstock.com