To Be Young, Gifted and Black

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
"To Be Young, Gifted and Black"
Song by Nina Simone
from the album Black Gold
RecordedOctober 26, 1969
VenuePhilharmonic Hall, New York City
GenreSoul, blues, gospel
Composer(s)Nina Simone
Lyricist(s)Weldon Irvine
Producer(s)Stroud Productions

"To Be Young, Gifted and Black" is a song by Nina Simone with lyrics by Weldon Irvine. 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.[1]


"To Be Young, Gifted and Black" 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.

Cover Versions[edit]

Notable cover versions of the song were recorded by:

Popular Culture[edit]

  • Simone sang it to a group of children on the PBS TV series Sesame Street on February 18, 1972.[3]


  • The song has also become a popular sample amongst various modern R&B/hip-hop pieces, including Rah Digga's 2003 unreleased record "On the Move", Faith Evans' 2014 single "I Deserve It", featuring Missy Elliott and Sharaya J, and on the title track of Rapsody's 2017 album Laila's Wisdom.


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 528.
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 67. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  3. ^ "Nina Simone at Sesame Street". YouTube. 18 February 1972. Retrieved 2020-03-27.