I once heard an interesting phrase from a character on Scandal right before he shot and killed another character. The phrase was: To be young, Black, and gifted. The two characters were Black men and exceptionally gifted in their portrayal of their respective characters.
The phrase is etched in my mind because it was addressed to an educated, ambitious, attractive, and young Black person. The phrase epitomised the very essence of this character and suggested that being young, Black and gifted was and is an opportunity maker, a door opener, a money-maker. It reminded me of the reality of my own existence: I am less than gifted.
Sure, I’m young-ish, I just turned 30 the other day. I am not sure how young that makes me. I am Black and I always will be. But am I gifted? I don’t feel that way.
I was a gifted singer–not anymore. I was once a gifted communicator–I don’t feel that way anymore. Instead, I feel mediocre, washed up, incompetent, lost, and ungifted. My desire to push on and live well has dwindled. I am young-ish, Black, but ungifted. What’s the point?
That’s sad, I know. I feel distant but how can I be anything more than who I am?
Yet, I push on; I fight the good fight and remain optimistic about the future. I work in fundraising and marketing for an organisation that endeavours to alleviate poverty in Africa and Asia. I probably would be more valuable, more useful, and more influential in our endeavours–if I were gifted.
Nobody wants to feel mediocre or left out of the fold, right? We all want to excel, be successful and dare I say, comfortable! To be young, Black–and gifted, is my gateway to wealth and success. But that eludes me. I do not feel gifted. So what am I living for? I guess I just have to figure it out. Shonda Rhimes, where are you???
To be continued….