Solange Knowles to Receive First Lena Horne Prize for Artists Creating Social Impact

Solange Knowles - Chloe Front Row - Getty - H 2018
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The singer-songwriter will receive the award at an event at New York City's Town Hall in February.

Solange Knowles will become the first-ever recipient of the Lena Horne Prize for Artists Creating Social Impact at a special event at New York City's Town Hall on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.

As part of the honor, Knowles will receive a $100,000 prize to be directed to Project Row Houses, a nonprofit that hosts community enrichment initiatives, art programs and neighborhood development activities in Houston’s Third Ward, one of the city’s oldest African-American neighborhoods.

“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.”

The prize is named after singer, actress and civil rights activist Horne, who starred in a number of musicals, including Panama Hattie, Cabin in the Sky and Stormy Weather. Her last on-screen role was as Glinda in Sidney Lumet’s The Wiz, a reimagining of The Wizard of Oz with an all-black cast.

“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,” said Knowles in a statement. “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.”

The Lena Horne Prize Advisory Board — which includes artists Harry Belafonte, Billy Porter, Judy Collins, Deesha Dyer, Roxane Gay and Dolores Huerta —  selected Knowles for using her platform to promote social change.