A member of Houston's world-famous Knowles family will be honored soon — and will also be giving back to the city she calls home.
It was announced that Solange Knowles will be the first-ever recipient of the Lena Horne Prize for Artists Creating Social Impact, the first major entertainment award to be named after a woman of color, honoring excellence at the intersection of arts and activism.
The Grammy-winning singer/songwriter/visual artist will be honored at a special event, held at The Town Hall in New York City on Friday, February 28, 2020, which will feature music, art, short films, and spoken word from renowned artists, entertainers, and activists.
Knowles will receive $100,000, which will be directed to Houston-based nonprofit organization Project Row Houses. “We are thrilled for Solange as the inaugural recipient of the Lena Horne Prize and are grateful for her continuous support of Project Row Houses and the Historic Third Ward community,” said Project Row Houses executive director Eureka Gilkey. “For more than 26 years, Project Row Houses has proven that the intersection between art, activism, and neighborhood development can be a sustainable vehicle for community transformation. This generous gift will continue to support Project Row Houses as a thought leader in socially engaged art, and our community enrichment and neighborhood development activities.”
“I am beyond humbled to be the first recipient of the Lena Horne Prize,” Knowles said in a statement. “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.
“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 continue her legacy of using the arts to inspire reflection and evoke change.”
This caps off a great year for the artist simply known as Solange. Earlier this year, she released her fourth studio album, When I Get Home. There was also a visual version of the album — aka an interdisciplinary art film — that was later shown at art museums around the world (including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston), as well as screened at this year's Houston Cinema Arts Festival.
The Lena Horne Prize Advisory Board, which consists of an esteemed list of artists, entertainers, philanthropists and community leaders — including Harry Belafonte, Billy Porter, Judy Collins, Roxane Gay, and others —selected Knowles for using her platform to promote social change.