oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches, 2016
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
To Be Young, Gifted and Black is a song written by Nina Simone with Weldon Irvine in memory of the author, and friend of Simone, Lorraine Hansberry (A Raisin in the Sun). It was just released as a single in October of 1969 when Simone performed it live at the Philharmonic Hall in New York. The concert in front of a white audience (which Simone does not fail to mention in her introduction to To Be Young, Gifted and Black) was recorded and released on the album Black Gold of 1970. I found the album together with 'Nuff Said of 1968, at the local Goodwill Outlet Center—the last place items exist before being crunched in a giant garbage machine. The album existed on a shelf, or in a box, in someone's house for 46 years, hardly ever played, before being rescued from its destruction. And now it has a new life, and a painting dedicated to it. "Her picture is painted in my memory without a color of despair, and no matter where I go she is always there." (added lyrics to Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair.)
For those of you who ever visited the Koreshan State Park in Estero might recognize the background as being the generator building interior.