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Solange Knowles

Source: Tony Rysk / LAN-CRN

Last month, Solange dropped her fourth studio effort, the Houston and Black Cowboy influenced When I Get Home and fans and followers have done nothing except jam “Almeda,” “Down To The Show,” “My Skin My Logo” and more. Since its release, net proceeds from the joint vinyl and digital downloaded sales have gone to several charities such as the Houston based S.H.A.P.E. Community Center, Black Girls Code, and Project Butterfly. All three bring a sense of “home” to those future young women throughout their respective programs.

Solange chose those three organizations through her upbringing and through her recent time in New Orleans. S.H.A.P.E. Community Center, being one of the “safe spaces” in her native Third Ward, was used as a major focal point to promote the album. To her and her mother Tina Knowles, S.H.A.P.E. was a grounding moment.

“I had actually found a space in Houston, TX where I retired,” Tina Knowles told ESSENCE. “It’s always been a dream of mine to open a place like this. When my kids were young, we used to go to a place called The Shrine of the Black Madonna in Houston. It was an African-American bookstore where they sold paintings, but they also had a room that was an all-purpose center. If you wanted to have a dance recital or anything that was related to the community activities, you could have it there. We were middle class but, we lived in The Third Ward, which is a mixed-class African-American area.”

“There was also a place called The Shape Center that became such an important part of my children’s growth and their creativity,” she added. They could go there and see art; they had Black books by Black authors and the Black authors would come in and read the books. It was just so important to the community and how it affected the youth in the community. So, I always said, if I ever had the chance, I would open a center like this.”

The S.H.A.P.E. Community Center’s agenda for Third Ward and beyond has always been to enrich and improve the quality of life of African-Americans through activities and programs.

Project Butterfly, which has branches across the country as well as Houston and New Orleans is a nationwide rites of passage program to prepare Black girls from adolescence to adulthood, while promoting self-awareness, financial literacy, increased self-esteem, creating positive self images, building character and develop leadership skills.

Black Girls Code is an organization that provides young and pre-teen girls of color the opportunity to learn in-demand skills in technology and computer programming early in life.

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