Feb. 28 – Song of the Day

This is the last day of Black History Month and — obviously — black artists have made far too many contributions to American music to pick a single song that could fairly represent that fact. I briefly thought about using a song by Chuck Berry or Jimi Hendrix or Aretha Franklin or Whitney Houston … only to think about the countless other artists who created equally compelling music, changing the face of American culture along the way. So, choosing to celebrate the end of this important month with Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” is not meant to downplay the contributions of any other artist … nor is it meant to argue that Gaye’s contributions to American music are somehow superior to those of his musical peers. I chose this song because Gaye was a wonderful artist who unquestionably changed music … like so many other black artists, living and dead … and because this particular song demands a higher standard from all of us, regardless of race. Arguably, the only way the world will improve is if we all address injustices and inequities head on. So, as we listen to Marvin Gaye on the final day of Black History Month, let’s move beyond his soothing voice and the fantastic instrumental performances and think deeply about the lyrical poetry. “You know we’ve got to find a way to bring some lovin’ here today.”

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