Tina Knowles Lawson Honored with the Inspiring Leadership Award At ESSENCE Festival

Photo by Paras Griffin
 Solange and Kelly Rowland present Mama Tina with the award during the Empowerment Experience at the 2016 ESSENCE Festival

Tina Knowles Lawson was honored on the final day of the 2016 ESSENCE Festival for her hard work and dedication to mentorship, leadership and philanthropy. Before a packed house, she was presented with the first ever Inspiring Leadership Award on the ESSENCE Empowerment Experience stage by her daughter Solange Knowles-Ferguson

“When I think of the words ‘inspiring’ and ‘leadership,’ I think of none other than my mother Ms. Tina Knowles [Lawson]. You are the walking example of the greatest in class, in sass and I couldn’t have asked for a more phenomenal mother,” Solange proudly said before presenting the trophy to her mom. As she accepted the honor, Knowles Lawson invited Kelly Rowland to the stage, revealing that Rowland surprised her by coming in to share the moment with her. 

Tina Knowles Lawson in Her Own Words, from Humble Beginnings to Making It When She Didn’t Believe She Could

“This is such a great honor for me. I’ve been attending the ESSENCE Festival since it started, almost every year. I launched a hair magazine back in the first years that he had the ESSENCE Festival; it was called Hair International, “shared Knowles Lawson. “We launched all of our brands here first. This has been a wonderful experience. I talk about the ESSENCE Festival all the time and ESSENCE Magazine because at one time, there were not any other magazines that I could look in and see myself.” 

After accepting the inaugural honor, the entrepreneur sat down to chat with former ESSENCE Cover and Beauty Editor Mikki Taylor and share some of her secrets for success and what keeps her humble.  Unsurprisingly, her strong faith has been one of the biggest keys to her success.  

“What I think God does is prepares you by giving you all these tools that if you’re smart—even though it might not be where you want to end up in life—but if you make the best of it and learn all you can and put those tools away in your tool box, one day, you will get to use all those tools and that’s what I got to do with Destiny’s Child,” the former fashion designer/stylist recalled about how she prepared herself for the path she would eventually lead to her many accomplishments.   

Admitting that that same path has not always been smooth, her faith has sustained her through her toughest moments. “I try to just think that whatever I’m going through at the time, this too shall pass so I don’t just give up and quit. I do whatever I need to do. I dust myself off and I get on up and do whatever I need to do.” 

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