Hundreds of members of the Harvard community — students, faculty, staff, and others — packed Sanders Theatre on Saturday to see Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Solange Knowles accept the Harvard Foundation’s 2018 Artist of the Year award as part of Cultural Rhythms.
The annual show was the first since the death of S. Allen Counter, founding director of the foundation, and there were several tributes to him throughout the day, including a video showing highlights from his Harvard tenure.
“Today we celebrate Cultural Rhythms while at the same time we miss our dear colleague, friend and mentor to so many, Dr. Allen S. Counter,” Danoff Dean of Harvard College Rakesh Khurana said.
Among the festival’s highlights were performances by numerous student groups, including the Society of Arab Students, the Harvard Philippine Forum, and the Harvard College Irish Dancers.
Accepting the award from Khurana, Solange said, “I’m so extremely humbled and honored. … I know that this is easy for me to say, with the safety net of my life, but I also do know my ancestors’ hands have built these spaces, and so I know that we belong.
“I want to share this moment, especially with black women, who may feel shut out of these spaces, or feel like the doors are not open to them because of one reason or another, and let them know that I see you.”