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  • Writer's pictureStacey R. Queen

Oh, To Be Young, Gifted and Black

Sha'Carri Richardson is truly and undoubtedly young, gifted and black! And that's a fact! Recently, her positive marijuana test overshadowed her dynamic performance in track and field causing media buzz, social media chatter and unsolicited opinions to go wild. In her own words, as told to Savannah Gutherie on the Today Show, "I want to take responsibility for my actions. I know what I did, I know what I'm supposed to do...and I still made that decision." Sounds like she is fully self-aware of the situation and dealing with it in her own way.

As a reminder to all of us who were once young and made tons of mistakes, none of us are perfect. Let's hope she learned from the situation and will grow and continue to shine. In the words of Nina Simone, "oh to be young, gifted and black." Simone penned the lyrics of Young, Gifted and Black along with poet Weldon Irvine as a tribute to author Lorraine Hansberry following her death in 1965. The song was also considered an anthem of the Civil Rights Movement and holds true for today's social, cultural and political climate.

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's a million boys and girls

Who are young, gifted and black

And that's a fact

"You are young, gifted and black"

We must begin to tell our young

There's a world waiting for you

Yours is the quest that's just begun

When you feeling really low

Yeah, there's a great truth that you should know

When you're young, gifted and black

Your soul's intact

How to be young, gifted and black?

Oh, 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"

Is where it's at

Is where it's at

Let's uplift our youth, keep them encouraged and motivate them to do what's right, besides who are we to judge? Even when they make mistakes, support them and stand up for them. They need us now more than ever before. Tell them that there is a world waiting for them. Make sure they know they are indeed incredible, brilliant, amazing and above all Young, Gifted and Black.

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