UPDATED: 11:30 a.m. ET, April 1, 2022 —
When the voice of Marvin Gaye was silenced forever by his father on April 1, 1984, when he shot and killed him in Los Angeles, CA, the world lost not only a brilliant talent but a man in tune with the ills of the Black community. Marvin Gaye was a true American Icon. His music was the embodiment of Black American culture. From the way we live, how we love, and the way we think. He even represented our demons. Even though his life ended in tragedy, his legacy will forever be known for the musical treasures he left for us to enjoy in his absence.
Though such songs as “Distant Lover” and “Let’s Get It On” are still considered premiere blue light basement classics, and songs such as “Trouble Man” and “Hitchhike” are sure to make even the most rhythmically challenged want to get up and dance, it’s his socially conscious lyrics that still resonate with today’s generation, proving that pain, suffering, poverty and racial unrest are as American as apple pie.
Marvin’s music reflects the landscape of the late 1960s and early ’70s with a clarity that is as vivid as stepping into a painting that has come to life.
As we continue to fight for justice for Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and countless others who have fallen victim — whether by gunshots or the prison industrial complex — to the racism, inequality, and violence that stand as cornerstones of the United States judicial and law enforcement systems, what better time to ask: “What’s Going On?”
“Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)”
“What’s Going On”
“Mercy, Mercy Me”
“Save The Children”
As we celebrate what would’ve been Marvin’s 83rd birthday, let us all remember that there is rebirth from the ashes of struggle — but we must never give up the fight.