It’s 1958 and you dare to sing lyrics about being “Young, Gifted and Black”? That’s no problem for Nina Simone, she wrote these words to educate people that our youth need to be told on a continual basis that they are worthy! She wanted lyrics that “will make black children all over the world feel good about themselves forever.” She took that topic and brought it to the public via a Billboard chart hit that reached #74 that year. Don’t hide behind the truth, confront it and move forward with strength and power. It worked for Nina.
I think we all struggle with finding our value, finding our place, finding who we are and what we want to do with our lives. It must be even harder to navigate through all that as a kid with the internet, media, remote classrooms, a global pandemic and being over scheduled. Whew! I am all grown up and the thought of that makes me tired! I appreciate that this song writer was passionate about wanting children, black children in particular, to know and understand their value.
We must invest in our young people. We MUST educate them and let them know their value and worth. If we fail to do this how can we then complain about their behaviors, lack of ambition or inability to lead? It is our responsibility to groom and teach them how to think from an empowered perspective AND help them understand they are only limited by their own thoughts. As the adults in their lives if we do not speak, maybe even “preach” their value to them how will they learn it? Facebook, Instagram, or heaven forbid any other site on the internet? Nina Simone knew to do that over sixty years ago. I hope we will carry on her legacy and charge ahead with words of encouragement, confirmation and pride for our children.