Lena Horne made history throughout her life of activism and entertainment. She’s now set to make history once again.

Horne has become the first woman of color to have a prominent entertainment award named after her. The Town Hall theater in New York City has announced its new award, the Lena Horne Prize for Artists Creating Social Impact. The award will honor “excellence at the intersection of arts and activism,” according to The Root via a press release, and will “recognize today’s leading artists that are using their platform to promote awareness and create social change.”

Gail Lumet Buckley said in a statement that Horne’s activism was part of a family legacy.

“It was a family tradition. Lena Horne’s grandmother, Cora Calhoun Horne, was a suffragist, an activist and a director of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Federation,” she said. “For my mother, it was never just about being a household name, it was about advocating for equality and justice and I am so proud that her legacy will continue through the Lena Horne Prize.”

The inaugural winner of the award will be chosen by an advisory board that includes Buckley as well as notables such as (but not limited to) Billy Porter, Harry Belafonte, Roxane Gay, Jose Antonio Vargas and White House Social Secretary Deesha Dyer. The winner will be announced at Town Hall in February. The Lena Horne Prize will also continue to honor Horne’s activism before the event by working with the Grammy Foundation & Museum to create workshops that promote music education and activism. A donation of $100,000 will also be given to the charity of the prize recipient’s choice.


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