Blafrokan

Marvin Gaye’s Soulful Soundtrack To Our Lives

The Prince of Soul

The cool, truth, smooth, musical genius, the Prince of Soul. Marvin Pentz Gaye Jr. born April 2, 1939, Gaye accelerated, igniting musical airwaves as a Motown legend until his tragic death April 1, 1984. He sung the quintessence of the Afrikan-American experience to a pinnacle transcending time, leaving an imprint of melodic rhapsody in the hearts of millions of music enthusiasts throughout the world. Marvin unfolded his rEVOLutionary spirit, expressed the controversial social consciousness of our people, and stoked the lovemaking fire to an ongoing era of Black survivalism, resistance, love and triumph birthed out of the Civil Rights for Human Rights struggle.  Take this sultry voyage down memory lane, into the core of a musical masters catalog, while we celebrate Marvin’s life that continues inspiring.

A 1959 promotional picture of Harvey and the New Moonglows. Gaye is fourth from the left behind a seated Fuqua.

Black Love is the Answer

A jolt of electricity hits from the onset of the beat. We began two stepping and swaying our hips into a universal rhythm of “Sexual Healing.” Real R&B is soul medicine converging the intimacy of pure love that will have you calling on your “Distant Lover,” to remind them, “I Want You,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” because “Your All I Need To Get By,” now “Let’s Get It On!” Every time we navigate back to the Black love, we strengthen ourselves, restore our endurance, work smarter to prosper greater and create timeless achievements for the future of ourselves.  Thank you Marvin, for maintaining the musical pulse for continuing Black Love.

Grieve to Heal

Can a “Trouble Man,” distracted and distraught by “What’s Going On,” entangled in a racist society crying “Mercy, Mercy Me,” with each court ruling upholding injustice, overcome? Can we discover an inner peace for our collective if we haven’t sung our rhythmic blues?  While seeking clarity, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” from a Burkinabe Teacher, Sobonfu Some, that grieving is the path to healing. Occasionally the weight of the world, Black existence in an anti-Black world seems unbearable, and arouses us to croon the “Inner City Blues.”  It “makes me wanna holler, and throw up both my hands,” crank my favorite headphones and just let it all out.  Perhaps we’ve forgotten how to release and allow the healing vibrations to conjure and purge our inner discontent.  Only after cleansing the soul with weeping eyes do we see anew, recognizing our “Pride And Joy,” cherishing our “Precious Love,”the gift of life.  Thank you Marvin, for inspiring us to be emotionally vulnerable for healing.

Photograph by Jim Britt taken circa 1973

Progress, Accomplish and Celebrate

No one person can rise higher than our Afrikan collective, ubuntu.  United we encourage one another to focus on the vision for ourselves beyond the mundane and exceptional challenges. United we accomplish each benchmark towards actualizing purpose, dreams and collective Black sovereignty.  Then to the tempo of Marvin we celebrate. We will dance for each college admissions acceptance letter and graduation, Black business opening and expansion, for each Black marriage proposal and pregnancy announcement, and even during the untimely deaths that become mournful celebration of life. We will dance, cry and sing this life experience together.   We “Got To Give It Up to Marvin Gaye who created part of the enduring musical soundtracks to Black life in America.  We love, miss and thank our Prince of Soul, “How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You.” 

LaToya Hamer

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