Updated: Sep 11, 2021
For the last few weeks, the song "What's Going On" has been playing in my head. Didn't understand why. It was only after the soldiers were withdrawn from Afghanistan that it hit me. As I look around the world, I understand why Marvin Gaye wrote this song. When I look at this album cover, he is really searching for the answer. This song was written at a pivotal time in the world and in Marvin's personal life as well. He realized he had to take his talent and use it to help with the issues of the world and to think Motown did not want to release this song. I could understand why because his went from Sexual Healing to Spiritual Healing. In his song What's Going On, he was not asking a question, he was making a statement and in doing so, some could say this ended up as a prayer(Tom Moon, 2000)
Marvin Gaye released this song in January 1971, only a couple of months after I was born. His brother just came home from the Vietnam war and Marvin noticed that he was not the same. So Marvin wrote this song as if he was in his brother's shoes. The song looked at the forces that was shaping American culture such as war, poverty, drug abuse, and racial tension. As I researched this album and realized that it's been 50 years and we are still facing the same issues.
As he stated in his lyrics, mothers there are too many of you crying, brothers there are too many of you dying... FATHER, FATHER no need to escalate. War is not the answer. For only love can conquer hate. Picket lines and pickets signs. Don't punish me with brutality. You get the picture. Everything he said then, is still relevant today.
Fifty years later we are still dealing with senseless killing, racial tension, wars, drugs, poverty, and among other things. What's Going On. We still have not found the answer. Marvin stated, We've got to find a way to bring some lovin' here today. We have got to find a way to bring to some understanding here today. He's really talking to world to trying to get everyone to see what he was seeing. He is pleading with the world to wake up!
I emphasized on FATHER, FATHER because He's the only one who can tell us what's really going on. He's the only one that can change this hate into love around the world. He's the only one we need to cry out to. He's the only one that can help us understand what's going on. What more has to be done to get our attention. As you look around this world today, you tell me what's going on.