Day 139, Song 159

Nina Simone

To Be Young, Gifted and Black

Nina Simone was singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist. One of the most gifted and distinct voices of her generation, she recorded over forty albums.

Composed by Simone, with lyrics by Weldon Irvine, this song peaked at number eight on the R&B charts. It was the seventh track on Simone's 1970 album, Black Gold, and it was written in honor of Lorraine Hansberry, Simone's friend and the author of A Raisin in the Sun. The song has been covered by numerous artists, including Aretha Franklin and Donny Hathaway.


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