NYU Black Renaissance Noire Spring 2015 - Page 25

Milk and Honey: Marvin Gaye Father, father, everybody thinks we’re wrong Oh, but who are they to judge us Simply because our hair is long — Marvin Gaye, “What’s Going On” How shall we write your story, Marvin? Shall we begin with the tyrants and preachers who shared the same body? The ones who told you music was forbidden. How about your dreams of being an aviator who could doo-wop? Shall we go back to your sweet boy voice lingering between needle and vinyl of Etta James and Chuck Berry records? Your three-octave croon made women rethink their husbands and fine rethink its definition. Our struggles became your reckoning. You rocked our heads and souls back and forth in a cradle of lyrics, asking the whole wide world, What’s going on? The world hasn’t changed much. We still have wars and questions. We try and hold on, play what’s left of you. Marvin, Marvin, how shall we tell the story of you? Press play. Press repeat. Make us want to holler. Right on. Marvin, we can’t forget your Tammi, your sweet, sweet Tammi Terrell — married only in song, gone too soon. You never got over that, Marvin. Neither did we. I know, Marvin. Some stories you wish to forget. Some parts of you couldn’t be saved by your mama or the music. 23 Some will only remember you for your pain. Some have your tears and speak your father’s name. BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIRE The life you lived, between lines of darkness turned you inside out. Everyone knows the Devil, Marvin. Even God. BRN-SPRING-2015.indb 23 3/29/15 11:41 AM