40 years ago Marvin Gaye Asked, “What’s Goin’ On?”

21 05 2011

It was 1971 when Motown released Marvin Gaye’s groundbreaking album, What’s Going On? the first of the label to ask that very real question of the Vietnam War, drug use, poverty. Even 40 years later it continues to induce goose bumps through Gaye’s pained, velveteen vocals, its brave message, and sultry bass. Released during a divisive time for many Americans, Gaye had the audacity to speak for a society fed up with sugar-coated pop and politics.

So here we are, all of us in this thing called life in 2011- another century which seems at first glance so far removed from the early 1970’s; however we can ask ourselves, “What’s going on?”  Our country is still fighting a confusing war on several fronts, the gap between the rich and…everyone else is widening, and our education system continues to keep minorities marginalized.

This anniversary serves as a reminder to us, for it’s easy to forget, that we are each blessed with talents to serve a larger purpose. Sure, Marvin Gaye had his share of infamous troubles, but in making What’s Going On? he used his talents to remind us all to be bold and ask questions-yes, even us non-famous people can act boldly.






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