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African Artists Show Us That ‘To Be Young, Gifted And Black’ Is Where It’s At

This past weekend while searching far and wide for new Afrobeat music, I happened across this, an update on a classic Nina Simone song by African artists. As part of a campaign for South African-based music station Channel O a few years back, 14 artists of various genres were assembled to revisit Simone's "To Be Young, Gifted and Black," originally recorded for 1970's Black Gold album. I was first introduced to the original by way of Donny Hathaway's powerful cover on his Everything is Everything collection. Aretha Franklin then based an album around her stirring, gospelized cover of the song. Naturally, Sir Elton John later turned it into what could be a radio jingle. The musicians featured on this update include Lira, Da L.e.s, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Hugh Masekela, Stoan, and Loyiso from South Africa, Ikechukwu from Nigeria, Lizha
James
of Mozambique, Gal Level from Namibia, Buffalo
Souljah
from Zimbabwe, and Malawi's Tay Grin. In this case, it's not a question of whether this tops the original, as the feel and intention are completely different. It is, however, awesome to see new generations connecting with the past for a good cause. This is not brand new, but it is pretty dope nonetheless in case you missed it the first time.


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