More than one hundred people gathered for the unveiling during an event hosted by Motown Museum and Detroit City Councilman Roy McCalister, Variety reported. According to The Detroit News, a portion of Outer Drive at Monica Street on the city’s northwest side was renamed Marvin Gaye Drive. The intersection is near the home Gaye shared with his first wife, Anna, for seven years. The location is also where the album art for “What’s Going On” was taken, the Detroit Free Press reported.
“To be here on this day is just a beautiful thing,” said Gaye’s youngest brother, Antwaun Gay, who attended the event with and Dylan Holley, Gaye’s grandson. Antwaun was just a year old when “What’s Going On” was released.
“I remember it moved me to tears,” Gay told the Free Press, recalling when he listened to the album as an 8-year-old. “I couldn’t understand what was happening to me. I don’t know if I even realized it was Marvin.”
“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, chairperson, and CEO of the 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.”
“I’m so honored to see all the support for ‘What’s Going On’ and for the loving man who sacrificed for others,” said Antwaun.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence also attended the ceremony. Earlier this year, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer named Jan. 20 “What’s Going On Day”.
Marvin Gaye was fatally shot by his father on April 1, 1984. The legendary singer was killed after intervening in a fight involving his parents.
Allen Hughes (The Book of Eli and Menace II Society) has been tapped to direct the biopic “What’s Going On” about Gaye, written by poet and playwright Marcus Gardley.
Per Deadline, Warner Bros. spent upwards of $80 million to acquire the script for the project.
“This is so personal for me,” Hughes said. “When I made my first film with my brother, we were fortunate to get What’s Going On into the trailer for Menace 2 Society, and it was a game-changer in elevating the marketing of that film. Every film of mine but the period film From Hell had some Marvin Gaye in it, and I’ve just always connected to him.”
“He’s the artist’s artist, with this ethereal voice that just comes out of the heavens,” he continued. “There have been plenty of great artists, and then Marvin, in his own lane.”
Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine will serve as producers on the biopic.