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Meshell Ndegeocello & Cody ChesnuTT Are ‘Young, Gifted And Black’


As we told you last month, Meshell Ndegeocello is prepping for the October 9th release of her tenth album, Pour une âme Souveraine (For a Sovereign Soul), A Dedication to Nina Simone. If you weren't already convinced that this is an album you need to have, perhaps her beautiful, scaled back cover of "To Be Young, Gifted and Black" will do it. Meshell takes a step back to let Cody ChesnuTT handle the vocals and handle them he did. The song was written in memory of Nina Simone's dear friend, author Lorraine Hansberry, and appeared on her 1969 album, Black Gold. Given its powerful, affirming message, it's not surprising that Meshell's cover isn't the first. The incomparable Donny Hathaway covered it in 1970 on Everything is Everything, and the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, covered it on her 1972 album also titled Young, Gifted and Black. Both of those versions are must listens if you want to truly hear a cover done right. It is completely unnecessary to launch into a discussion about whether or not Ndegeocello and ChesnuTT did it any justice because that would just be an insult. Not only was it well done, but Meshell is giving it to you for free, in exchange for your e-mail address. With this song, Simone wanted to inspire her people, and all of these years later, even through the voice of another, it does exactly that.
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