D.C. native Marvin Gaye (1939-1984), one of the most influential music performers of his generation, has been honored on April 2 with a postage stamp featuring his portrait to mark the 35th anniversary of his death, as part of the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) music icon series.
The Motown-era legend, also known as the ‘Prince of Soul’, was recognized by USPS with a Forever stamp. The stamp’s design was inspired by historic photographs. Its sheet is meant to resemble a vintage 45 rpm record sleeve. Art director Derry Noyes and artist Kadir Nelson teamed up for the design.
Carla M. Johnson, who has been campaigning for Gaye’s stamp for six years, told The Undefeated that Gaye deserved a stamp just like Ray Charles, Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin, describing the legendary musician as a “genius.”
“He is just as important and deserving as other artists of having the government honor him. I wanted to show that you can pursue a goal and make it happen,” she noted.
Gaye was born at the old Freedman’s Hospital, which is now home to Howard University’s radio station and communications school. He lived in Simple City with his family before moving to Northeast D.C.’s Deanwood neighborhood.
Gayle studied in the now-closed Randall Junior High School. He also attended Cardozo High School and later dropped out to focus on singing.
Among his hits that went on to top charts are What’s Going On, Let’s Get It On, Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing, Ain’t That Peculiar and How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You).
He died on April 1, 1984, one day short of his 45th birthday, after being shot by his father Marvin Gay Sr., during a physical altercation between the two.
Gaye has performed at prestigious D.C. venues, including the Kennedy Center and the Howard Theatre. A park and a recreation center in D.C. have been named after Gaye as a recognition by the city he grew up in for his legacy.