To Be Young, Gifted and Black

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"To Be Young, Gifted and Black"
Song by Nina Simone
from the album Black Gold
Released1970
RecordedOctober 26, 1969
VenuePhilharmonic Hall, New York City
GenreSoul, blues
Length9:34
LabelRCA
Composer(s)Nina Simone
Lyricist(s)Weldon Irvine
Producer(s)Stroud Productions
Official audio
"Nina Simone - To Be Young, Gifted and Black (Audio)" on YouTube

"To Be Young, Gifted and Black" is a song by Nina Simone with lyrics by Weldon Irvine. She introduced the song on August 17, 1969, to a crowd of 50,000 at the Harlem Cultural Festival, captured on broadcast video tape and released in 2021 as the documentary film Summer of Soul.[1][2] Two months later, she recorded the song as part of her concert at Philharmonic Hall, a performance that resulted in her live album Black Gold (1970). Released as a single, it peaked at number 8 on the R&B chart and number 76 on the Hot 100 in January 1970.[3] A cover version by Jamaican duo Bob and Marcia reached number 5 in the UK Singles Chart in 1970.[4]

The title of the song comes from Lorraine Hansberry's autobiographical play, To Be Young, Gifted and Black.[5][6] The song is considered an anthem of the Civil Rights Movement.[7]

Background[edit]

"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.[8][9]

Cover versions[edit]

Notable cover versions of the song were recorded by:

Samples[edit]

Mathematically Gifted & Black[edit]

The name of Mathematically Gifted & Black was partially inspired by the song.[10][11][12]


References[edit]

  1. ^ Ryan, Patrick. "Sundance 2021: Questlove takes us to forgotten 'Black Woodstock' in joyous concert doc 'Summer of Soul'". USA TODAY.
  2. ^ Obenson, Tambay (January 29, 2021). "'Summer of Soul' Review: Questlove's Directorial Debut Captures the Legacy of Forgotten 'Black Woodstock'".
  3. ^ "Nina Simone". Billboard.
  4. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 67. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 528.
  6. ^ "Songs of Black Lives Matter: Nina Simone, "To Be Young, Gifted and Black"". SoulMusic.
  7. ^ "Nina Simone's 'Lovely, Precious Dream' For Black Children". www.wbur.org.
  8. ^ a b "Nina Simone's 'Lovely, Precious Dream' For Black Children". NPR.org.
  9. ^ "Chadwick Boseman shines a light on Nina Simone's 'To Be Young, Gifted and Black'". Los Angeles Times. January 28, 2019.
  10. ^ "About Us". Mathematically Gifted & Black.
  11. ^ "Mathematically Gifted and Black". African American Male Mathematics Network.
  12. ^ "The Voices of Black Mathematicians". Scientific American.