Solange Knowles Becomes First-Ever Lena Horne Prize Recipient

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 28: Solange Knowles speaks onstage at the Lena Horne Prize Event Honoring Solange Knowles Presented by Salesforce at the Town Hall on February 28, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Mendez/Getty Images for The Town Hall)

On Friday at The Town Hall in New York City, songwriter/singer, GRAMMY Award-winning Solange Knowles, accepted the first-ever inaugural Lena Horne Prize. The prize is for “artists creating social impact”. During her speech, Solange paid tribute to the legacy of Lena Horne.

Horne was a civil rights activist, actress, singer, and an American icon. Knowles opened up on how Horne’s role in The Wiz contributed to her imagination when she was a little girl. She was five years old when she first saw someone on the television screen that looked exactly like her.

“I was about five years old when I first saw The Wiz and it became the center of my universe. Never had I seen men and women who looked, sounded, moved and existed the way the characters in my imagination, in my little five-year-old world did.”

NEW YORK – 1978: Lena Horne in a scene from the movie “The Wiz” in 1978 in New York, New York. The movie was directed by Sidney Lumet and produced by Universal Studios. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)

Friday also marked the one year anniversary of Solange When I Get Home album. This album is the fourth studio album done by Solange. It is also the follow-up to her 2016 album A Seat at the Table.

“This album marked a colossal pivot moment in my life that I’m still in the thick of the lessons today.”

Knowles added that her “life changed drastically” and “so suddenly there came a great, great fear,” she continued.

“Fear of the unknown, fear of trust, fear of love, fear of silence, fear of having to confront things and pain that I have buried too deep, deep inside. It was easy for me to show up and be the unstoppable woman for everyone else, but terrifying for me to be that woman for myself.”

Artist Toyin Ojih Odutola brings Solange to the stage to give her acceptance speech for the inaugural Lena Horne Prize at the Lena Horne Prize for Artists Creating Social Impact Celebrating Solange Knowles at The Town Hall on February 28, 2020.

The night was filled with so much empowerment, truth, and culture.