Tina Knowles
Credit: Paras Griffin/Getty

It isn't only Beyoncé bringing home awards. Her mom Tina Knowles Lawson was honored today with the Inspiring Leadership Award at the 2016 Essence Festival in New Orleans. The music industry pioneer is the first recipient ever of the award, and it couldn't be going into better hands. "You are the walking example of grace and class and sass," declared her daughter Solange Knowles, who along with Kelly Rowland, joined the woman of honor on stage as she was presented with the award.

In light of the honor, Knowles Lawson shared a personal story with Essence about her journey: how she learned to strive and succeed well beyond her humble beginnings, how she's overcome adversity along the way, and how she learned to become a fighter, not just for her family, but for herself. The 62-year-old described her personal growth and empowerment as "baby steps," recognizing the necessity in seeking ways to value yourself while you're giving so much to everyone around you.

Knowles Lawson tells Essence she "had to be a fighter" to protect her girls when they got into the music business, but also had to learn to fight for herself. An important skill she gained growing up was learning how to "challenge people and to make them give you respect." Even at a young age, she was trained not just to go with the flow, and it's this same attitude that has given the leader the strength to come so far. Above all, Knowles Lawson underscored the importance of giving time and energy to yourself, saying, "I think when you value yourself and respect yourself, everything else falls into place."

Yesterday, Solange and Beyoncé's mom took to Instagram to share a post of her and her husband, Richard Lawson, together in a car, captioning the photo, "On our way to hear Oprah speak at the Essence festival" followed by a heart. Knowles Lawson was also a guest speaker at the four-day event, delivering a keynote conversation today on the festival's Empowerment Experience stage.