Solange Accepts First-Ever Lena Horne Prize With Speech About Overcoming ‘Great, Great Fear’
Photo by Jason Mendez/Getty Images for The Town Hall

Over the weekend, singer Solange Knowles was honored with the first-ever Lena Horne Prize for Artists Creating Social Impact at the Town Hall in New York City.

A number of stars were in attendance to witness the event and share wonderful words about the singer, including Solange’s mother Tina Knowles Lawson, Horne’s daughter Gail Lumet Buckley and her granddaughter Jenny Lumet, Rapsody, Tamron Hall, Common, Andra Day, and BJ the Chicago Kid.

While accepting the honor, the singer opened up about the lessons she learned when her “life changed drastically” during the making of her recent album When I Get Home.

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“This album marked a colossal pivot moment in my life that I’m still in the thick of the lessons today,” Solange said. “Suddenly there came a great, great fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of trust, fear of love, fear of silence, fear of having to confront things and pain that I have buried too deep, deep inside. It was easy for me to show up and be the unstoppable woman for everyone else, but terrifying for me to be that woman for myself.”

The singer thanked her mother, friends, and hometown for uplifting her and “checking on me daily, coming over to my house just to lay and laugh with me.”

“My mother made me feel a little less afraid during those days and brought home to me. She came over every day for a few weeks to cook me okra and brown rice and cornbread with her little book of prayers. My beautiful hometown and neighborhood of Third Ward Houston held me … My dear friends, all of which are here tonight. They lifted me so high with so much love and so much hope.”

During her speech, the singer also acknowledged the importance of allowing yourself space to grow and become “all the things.”

“I know that these speeches are meant to be aspirational, leaving you feeling warm and fuzzy and inspiring you to be yourself,” she added. “But I’d like to have the space right now to be all of these things. I’m honored to be all the things that my mother and my dear friend Toyin [Oijih Odutola, a visual artist] have said, but I’m also in a moment of great transition and transformation and we all deserve the space to be all of those things — the space to love my people, to vow to continue fighting for us, for our peace, uplift us, make us seen and heard, celebrate our undeniable supreme light while trying really hard to find my own.”


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