I’m here to talk about music today, but hear me out as it all ties together in the end. Thank you.
A commonly asked question, whether it’s a first date icebreaker or a heated debate between close friends, ‘what’s the greatest album of all-time?’ With every commonly asked question comes the commonly received answers: The Beatles had ‘Abbey Road’; Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ (although I’ll go out on a limb and say his ‘Bad’ album was better); Pink Floyd’s ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’; Stevie Wonder’s ‘Innervisions’. Hell, my girlfriend will throw down for Britney’s ‘Blackout’ album. You get my point, the “greatest” list is infinite.
Consideration to be great requires more than pure talent. It takes hard work, dedication, inspiration, and creative genius. But what does it take to be considered, “The Greatest”? Art of that magnitude is divine, to put it mildly, it requires catching lightning in a bottle. In the Spring of 1971, that lightning struck when legendary singer/songwriter, Marvin Gaye, released his 11th studio album, ‘What’s Going On’.
What’s Going On wasn’t a question, but a statement on what’s truly going on in the world. From the opening title track, ‘What’s Going On’ to the closing track, ‘Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)’. This protest album has stood the test of time, and still rings true to this day.
Lyrics from Inner City Blues:
“Inflation, no chance to increase finance. Bills pile up sky high, send that boy off to die.”
“Crime is increasing, trigger-happy policing. Panic is spreading, God knows where we're heading.”
If you aren’t familiar with arguably the greatest album by undoubtedly one of the greatest artists, I’ll leave it up to you to pick up where I left off. But I’m supposed to be talking about clothing, why am I out here talking music? The answer is simple. April 1st marks 35 years since the world lost a beautiful soul, by the name of Marvin Gaye. Adding to that, April 2nd would’ve been his 80th birthday.
Although Marvin had his flaws, as we all do, he was a victim of toxic masculinity; his father being the abuser. This haunted Marvin throughout his life, and on the eve of his 45th birthday, he was
killed by his own father. So in remembrance, I challenge you to Dress to Protest, in honor of the greatest album, ‘What’s Going On’.
We all have a cause, and every cause needs a voice. Starting Monday, April 1st, be the voice for your cause by dressing the part. Marvin used his voice to raise awareness, we can do the same by using our wardrobe. Never be afraid to make a change!
Rest in power, Marvin. You died 11 years and 23 days before my birth date, but your soulful music was what raised me, and you’ll forever live through that music. Often duplicated but never replicated, thank you.