A week after Solange Knowles was awarded the Lena Horne Prize (February 28) to celebrate her activism, the singer’s mother Tina Knowles-Lawson is recounting a childhood story that demonstrates that her daughter’s activism started at an early age.
“The [school] principal called me in and said, ‘Solange is starting trouble.’ And I’m like, ‘What did she do?” Knowles-Lawson to Page Six. She admitted that the 12-year-old Solange had started a petition to get a teacher fired.
Tina said that her youngest daughter has always had a “creative, energetic soul,” she reflected on her daughters’ accomplishments on the red carpet at New York City’s historic Town Hall theater, moments before her daughter was honored for creating social impact.
She told TIME that she was born with a “fiery spirit.” “She’s been the first African-American woman in a lot of museums and spaces that we weren’t welcome in before. She’s knocked down those doors, and she’s only just begun,” her mom said.
Crowned with the Lena Horne Prize, Solange will be sending her $100,000 award to Project Row Houses based in her hometown of Houston.
Project Row is a nonprofit that serves as a community platform that provides initiatives, art programs, and neighborhood development activities in Houston’s Historic Third Ward.
During her acceptance speech, Solange reminisced on playing the role of Glinda the Good Witch in The Wiz, the same iconic role Lena Horne played years before.
“When I danced in the film trying to conjure up and crystallize the moment, I tried to channel the energy of Ms. Horne, her words all around me: ‘Believe that you can go home, believe you can float on air … If you believe, Oh, then you’ll be there,” she said. “With the echoes of those last lines, ‘Believe in yourself like I believe in you,’ I speak to little five-year-old me… I know it is no accident I stand in front of you tonight surrounded by the powerful legacy of Ms. Lena Horne continuing to guide me.”