Solange Knowles Awarded First-Ever Lena Horne Prize

March 3, 2020

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The first-ever Lena Horne Prize for Artists Creating Social Impact was award to Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Solange Knowles on Friday.

Andra Day, “The Late Show’s” Jon Batiste, and Common were among some of the celebrities who turned out to the star-studded event at The Town Hall in New York City.

Knowles was presented the award – named for singer, actress and civil rights activist Lena Horne – by visual artist Toyin Ojih Odutola and gave a tearful acceptance speech.

“I’m so honored and humbled,” Knowles said when accepting the award.

The award is the first major prize to be named for a woman of color and Horne’s daughter, Gail Lumet Buckley, told WCBS 880’s Lynda Lopez that her family is flattered.

“I’m very happy about it, very happy,” she said.

The historic Town Hall Theatre and its nearly 100-year-old arts and activism group helped to create the prize and wanted it to be presented to Knowles in the place where Horne performed nearly 80 years ago.

Buckley says the artist and activist’s space was the perfect match for her mother, who was truly lifelong activist.

“It started when she was 2, with her grandmother enrolling her as the youngest member of the NAACP,” she says.

Buckley adds that Knowles, an artist known for advocating for her community and women of color, is also the perfect first recipient of the award.

“She’s a very wonderful singer, she’s a person of character, she’s an individual, she obviously has integrity and she’s giving her prize to a community group in Houston,” Buckley said. “I think that everything that she stands for and has done, my mother would approve of and would say, ‘Good work, Solange.’”

She says that the board – which includes notable names such as Harry Belafonte, Billy Porter, Judy Collins and Roxane Gay – voted unanimously for Knowles.

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