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Lena Horne Prize to recognize artists who promote social change

NEW YORK — The venerated Times Square concert venue The Town Hall has created a new award to honor arts and activism, a prize to be named after Lena Horne.

The Lena Horne Prize for Artists Creating Social Impact will recognize those who “promote awareness and create social change.” The inaugural winner will be honored in February. The recipient will receive a $100,000 donation to be directed to a charity of their choice.

The prize’s advisory board includes Horne’s daughter, Gail Lumet Buckley, as well as Harry Belafonte, Billy Porter, Judy Collins, Deesha Dyer, Roxane Gay, Bob Santelli, Bruce Cohen and Jose Antonio Vargas.

Lumet Buckley says her Tony- and Grammy-winning mother didn’t chase fame. “It was about advocating for equality and justice and I am so proud that her legacy will continue through the Lena Horne Prize.”

The prize was created by Michael Matuza, Jeb Gutelius and The Town Hall.

Horne’s repertoire of hit songs includes “Stormy Weather” and the album “Porgy and Bess.” She won a special Tony for her one-woman play, “Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music.” She worked with Eleanor Roosevelt to pass anti-lynching laws and spoke at the March on Washington in 1963.

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