“To be young, gifted and black, Oh what a lovely precious dream…” –Nina Simone
Don’t let the media hype fool you. For every criminally minded gangsta, there are several more young, gifted and black folks who are poised to leave a positive and lasting mark on our generation. They come from different walks— some are Southern sophisticates, other rock the latest hip hop swag— but they all bear great promise for being the change we want to see.
Without forgetting about those who are being left behind in a fast-paced world, we should highlight those gifts in our communities who are trying hard to make a difference. Having the Obamas in the White House has helped change the assumptions about what’s possible for we great grandchildren of slaves, but everyday there are unnamed savvy sisters and brothers who have the vision to turn our world upside down…and right side up again. Too long we’ve ignored the faithful fathers, committed teachers, innovative entrepreneurs, Spirit-anointed preachers, and socially conscious artists who day in and out strive to redeem communities plagued with crime, poverty and hopelessness. These ordinary sheroes and heroes give their God-given brilliance and creativity for the greater good, with only a changed life as their reward. And that’s really reward enough. They may never be on CNN or BET; Essence and Vibe may never make them a cover story, but their accomplishments are recorded in the Lamb’s book of Life.
To be young, gifted and black doesn’t mean you have to have a lot of money, be raised in the suburbs, or attend the most prestigious schools. It doesn’t mean you don’t have a past (we all do) or a record. It doesn’t mean that you fit a certain image. God created you wonderfully and fearfully as gifted and you’re already a gift, even if you don’t see it yet. As Howard Thurman said, stand a little taller so you can reach the royal crown God holds over your head!
Everyone calls our generation different things: Generation X, Y, Hip Hop, etc. Well, I’ve got another one for you: Generation YGB (Young, Gifted, Black). I encourage you to be the change we want to see in the world and affirm those everyday change agents around you who are making the world a little better than it was before they arrived. Look deep into some young kid’s eyes and tell them that they are beautiful and brilliant. Pray harder, work smarter, and commit your life to using everything you’ve got to making sure everyone kissed by the sun can know they are somebody!
So let’s make it happen, Generation YGB! The world is longing for your greatness.
Written by Pastor CJ Rhodes