Solange Knowles Is First Recipient of the Lena Horne Prize For Artists Creating Social Impact

Solange Knowles
Benjamin Lozovsky/BFA/REX/Shutterstock

Solange Knowles at the 70th Annual Parsons Benefit in New York on May 21, 2018. 

"I will never forget being a young girl and the impact of hearing the great Lena Horne singing the words 'believe in yourself' from The Wiz."

The Town Hall has announced that Solange Knowles if the first recipient of the Lena Horne Prize for Artists Creating Social Impact, which is billed as the first major entertainment award to be named after a woman of color. The award honors "excellence at the intersection of arts and activism."

Knowles will be honored at a special event at The Town Hall in New York City on Feb. 28, 2020. She will receive $100,000, which she will turn over to Project Row Houses, a Houston-based nonprofit. The organization, which was founded in 1993, is said to be "a catalyst for transforming community through the celebration of art and African-American history and culture."

In a statement, Knowles said she is "beyond humbled" to be the first recipient of the award. "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."

Knowles was selected by the advisory board for the Lena Horne Prize, which includes Harry Belafonte, Billy Porter, Judy Collins, Deesha Dyer, Roxane Gay and Dolores Huerta.

Knowles, 33, who records as Solange, was born in Houston. Her last three studio albums— Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams, A Seat at the Table and When I Get Home—have reached  the top 10 on the Billboard 200. A Seat at the Table spawned the hit "Cranes in the Sky," which won a Grammy for best R&B performance.

The Lena Horne Prize was created by Michael Matuza, Jeb Gutelius and The Town Hall, who will jointly produce the event, along with Marion Rosenfeld. The event will feature music, art, short films and spoken word presentations. 

Sponsorship packages, including tickets to the award event, gala dinner, and ancillary events, are available now at Tickets to the award event will be available in early January 2020 through The Town Hall and Ticketmaster.


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.