In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Marvin Gaye’s influential album “What’s Going On,” a street in Detroit has been named “Marvin Gaye Drive.”
The street naming was revealed during an event on Saturday hosted by Motown Museum and Detroit City Councilman Roy McCalister, kicking off the Detroit Avenue of Fashion’s Juneteenth festivities. The celebration was attended by Gaye’s brother, Antwaun Gay, along with other members of his family. Motown alumni were also in attendance, in addition to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Rep. Brenda Lawrence and Rochelle Riley, the director of arts, culture and entrepreneurship for the city of Detroit.
Located between Monica St. and W. Outer Drive, Marvin Gaye Drive marks the corner of the house where Gaye lived during the conceptualization of his 1971 album “What’s Going On.” The album cover for the iconic record was shot in the backyard of that home.
“Marvin Gaye left an indelible mark on the world, and honoring his meaningful work and his impact with the newly minted Marvin Gaye Drive ensures his legacy lives on in an important way with his continued presence in Detroit, steps away from the home where he lived and conceptualized the ‘What’s Going On’ album 50 years ago,” Robin Terry, chairwoman and CEO of Motown Museum, said in a statement. “It was incredibly special for us to share this ceremonial moment with members of Marvin’s family, members of our Motown family and the Detroit community. It’s a day we’ll never forget.”
Terry also commented on the significance of the street name being unveiled on Juneteenth, which commemorates the true end of slavery in the U.S.
“It is fitting that today, on Juneteenth, we are honoring one of the legends of Motown and his iconic words that represent the struggles of those who have fought for peace and freedom,” Terry said. “We are so proud to recognize Marvin’s accomplishments and share the spirit of Motown, which has always represented Black excellence and entrepreneurship.”