Solange Knowles had quite the weekend. Solange accepted the Harvard Foundation's 2018 Artist of the Year award on Saturday, March 3 and she gave a touching speech about following her dreams as an artist.
Knowles stepped out at Sanders Theatre at Harvard University this weekend, where she accepted the coveted award. During her moving acceptance speech, the 31-year-old opened up about being a teenage mother and the ways in which it affected her life as an artist in the long run.
"I was 17 when I became pregnant with my son Julez. At 18, he was a newborn and we were living in Moscow, Idaho, supporting his father's dreams of playing football and getting an education. My dreams were to write music and create work that could express the inner workings of my soul."
The Houston native continued on to admit that she had a hard time putting her dreams first because of being a young mother, ultimately causing her to trick herself into believing that she didn't want pursue music after all. But, coming from a hard-working family, Knowles also admitted that being under the pressure to live up to her family members' expectations made her feel "swallowed, self-critical, [and] small."
"Being a young, teenage mother in front of the world didn't help. So I was content living in Idaho, taking care of my baby, GED education. And, while I wrote music and songs for other artists and music for commercials to earn a living, I didn’t want to speak or feel worthy until I had something to say."
And just a few short years later, Knowles did have something to say. She wrote and recorded her second album, Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams, as a way to cope with heartbreak, depression, and "the perils and the journey of being a young, imperfect woman trying to find her way."
"I began to shape and mold the way that I viewed the world, while the world continuously tried to shape and mold me," she said.
Knowles also dropped some gems about inclusion and the importance of not using the opinions of others to determine your worth. Speaking on having the privilege to be honored at institutions like Harvard, she said,
"While these institutions open doors, and while I understand what the visibility as a young, black woman artist standing here before you means, and while I'm standing here [as] the daughter, and grand-daughter, and great grand-daughter of women who never even attended college, I also have to acknowledge that our worth cannot be invested in the moment someone tells us that we are worthy."
Once the night was over, the Seat at the Table singer headed to Instagram to pour her heart out via a sweet post thanking the Harvard Foundation. Knowles wrote,
today truly brought me so much joy, my heart is so full...❤️❤️❤️to be selected harvard foundations “artist of the year” by these tremendous, glorious students I met today....to witness all of the greatness they put into the world, and then they deem me worthy of this moment, fills me with such great gratitude. i’m grinning from ear to ear because this beautiful gals name is solange too, and she is a wonder! thank you to all of the students who made today one I will hold close forever more!
It was announced back in mid-February by The Harvard Gazette that Knowles would be receiving the Artist of the Year award. The award was given to the singer based on her achievements as an artist over the past few years, and the powerful messages she's promoted with her music and visuals. The words of wisdom she shelled out during Saturday night's speech were just as powerful as her music, and a prime example of why the Harvard Foundation really couldn't have chosen a better artist to win this award.