To Be Young, Gifted and Black

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About To Be Young, Gifted and Black

"To Be Young, Gifted and Black" is a song by Nina Simone with lyrics by Weldon Irvine. It was written in memory of Simone's late friend Lorraine Hansberry, author of the play A Raisin in the Sun, who had died in 1965 aged 34. The song was originally recorded and released by Simone in 1969. The song was also featured on her 1970 album Black Gold and was considered an anthem of the Civil Rights Movement. Released as a single, it peaked at number eight on the R&B chart and number 76 on the Hot 100. Simone sang it to a group of children on the PBS TV series Sesame Street on February 18, 1972. Notable cover versions of the song were recorded by Donny Hathaway (on his 1970 album Everything Is Everything), Aretha Franklin (on her 1972 album Young, Gifted and Black) and Bob and Marcia (whose 1970 recording reached number 5 in the UK Singles Chart and number 15 in Ireland). Jamaican rocksteady/reggae trio The Heptones recorded a version for Coxsone Dodd's Studio One label in 1970. American singer Meshell Ndegeocello included a version on her 2012 tribute album Pour une Âme Souveraine: A Dedication to Nina Simone.  


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To be young, gifted and black
Oh what a lovely precious dream
To be young, gifted and black
Open your heart to what I mean

In the whole world you know
There are billion boys and girls
Who are young, gifted and black
And that's a fact!

Young, gifted and black
We must begin to tell our young
There's a world waiting for you
This is a quest that's just begun

When you feel really low
Yeah, there's a great truth you should know
When you're young, gifted and black
Your soul's intact

Young, gifted and black
How I long to know the truth
There are times when I look back
And I am haunted by my youth

Oh but my joy of today
Is that we can all be proud to say
To be young, gifted and black
Is where it's at

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Nina Simone

Eunice Kathleen Waymon (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003), better known by her stage name Nina Simone /ˈniːnə sɨˈmoʊn/, was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist widely associated with jazz music. Simone aspired to become a classical pianist while working in a broad range of styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop. more »

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Written by: Nina Simone, Weldon Irvine

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Downtown Music Publishing

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

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