Black Music Month, the 60th Anniversary of the founding of Motown and Father’s Day weekend were all rolled into one wonderful celebration when, on Saturday, June 15, soul singer Marvin Gaye received a lasting tribute to his storied legacy: a post office named in his honor. The former Dockweiler Post Office located at 3585 S. Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles, CA was renamed for “The Prince of Motown” on a sunny afternoon before a large and jubilant crowd.

While a DJ spun fan favorites like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Let’s Get it On” and “Got to Give It Up,” guests and friends posed for endless photos in front of a colorful backdrop bearing Gaye’s image. A replica of the singer’s Forever Stamp, which was released in April, hung overhead on the post office building facade.

Singer BJ the Chicago Kid performs at Marvin Gaye Post Office renaming ceremony.

The renaming ceremony, which was hosted by Los Angeles City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, was MC’d by U.S. Congressmember Karen Bass and featured guest speakers including Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson and members of the Gaye family, including the late singer’s sister Zeola. Singer BJ the Chicago Kid treated the crowd to a lively “duet” of Gaye’s signature anthem “What’s Going On.”  Members of the Motown family including producer Iris Gordy, songwriter Janie Bradford and A&R Executive Mickey Stevenson also turned out to celebrate Gaye’s special day.

While the music may have endeared Marvin Gaye to his fans, it was evident that the renaming of the post office in his honor is a testament to his enduring message of love, peace and social justice.  “Marvin Gaye had a message 40 years ago that still resonates today about justice, discrimination and the challenges we face as a people today,” Congressmember Bass remarked.

LA City Council President Herb Wesson echoed the sentiment. “It’s important that we name this post office after an individual who not only grooved us with his music, but who also created music that made us proud of who we are and how we look.”

Marvin Gaye was born on April 2, 1939 and tragically died on April 1, 1984 from a gunshot wound inflicted by his father Marvin Gay, Sr. after an altercation. He is one of the most beloved artists of his generation and, in a career that spanned more than two decades, he scored multiple hits as both a solo artist as well as in a series of duets with his singing partner Tammi Terrell. His is the first Motown artist to receive a stamp in his honor, and the first Motown artist to receive a post office named in his honor.

When we asked Zeola Gaye what she thinks her brother would say if he could see a post office named in his honor, she smiled and, quoting lyrics from one of Gaye’s hits, she replied, “I think he would say: how sweet it is to be loved by you.”

Marvin Gaye’s sister Zeola at the Marvin Gaye Post Office renaming ceremony.

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