This week, I fell into a Donny Hathaway hole. This was surely not the first time. In fact, this happens at least once a year. And usually, it takes me a while to climb back out. This time, I stopped at his cover of “To Be Young, Gifted and Black,” a song originally written by Nina Simone and inspired by a play of the same name about Lorraine Hansberry’s life. 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
Sparrow is the beautiful story of a 14-year-old girl who is struggling to cope with unfortunate loss at a time when just growing up seems painful. But instead of truly managing her emotions, she escapes. When her escape proves potentially dangerous, she finds herself in therapy unwilling and maybe even unable to communicate just what she feels and why she needs to escape her world. It’s only after her therapist turns on her iPod in the middle of a session that Sparrow finds the words she needs and takes the first steps to live through her life instead of running from it. Here are some of the songs mentioned in the story:
I’m currently reading James McBride’s Kill ‘Em and Leave. It’s a very insightful read that immediately sent me digging. So, I leave you with a short playlist I put together of some of James Brown’s live recordings. I have also included video footage from a 1983 concert where James Brown calls both Michael Jackson and Prince to the stage!
And yes, I’m a mess but I’m blessed To be stuck with you. Sometimes it gets unhealthy We can’t be by ourselves, we We’ll always need each other. Yes, I’m a mess but I’m blessed To be stuck with you. I just want you to know that If I could, I swear I’d go back Make everything all better.