Los Angeles California will host Marvin Gaye’s celebration of his commemorative U.S. Postage Stamp honor. The United States Postal Service will honor R&B singer Marvin Gaye (1939–1984) with the 'Prince of Soul' Forever Postage stamp as part of their 2019 Music Icons collection. The event will be held at The Greek Theater in Los Angeles on April 2, 2019, marking what would have been Marvin’s 80th birthday.
Ron Brewington, National Vice President of the Motown Alumni Association was instrumental in leading the effort of Marvin Gaye receiving a U.S. Postage Stamp honor. He launched a campaign in 2003 called 'A Stamp for Marvin' and garnered the support of the Los Angeles City Council, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, and several celebrities. “Back in 2003, I sent an application representing the Motown Alumni Association, and gathered petitions and signed letters from all over the world,” exclaims Brewington. He says he received a call from the USPS in November 2018 to announce that Marvin Gaye was selected for the stamp honor. “It’s a great feeling of appreciation for what USPS has done for such a remarkable icon in our music culture.”
This isn't Brewington’s first time paying homage to the Multi Grammy Award winning singer. In 1990, Brewington spearheaded a star studded radio and television campaign to have Marvin Gaye honored posthumously with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.
“I remember it was a beautiful day when Marvin received his star," reflects Brewington, “and to see so many of his Motown friends there to support him, it was one of the biggest crowds I've ever seen at a star ceremony."
Don Howze, an Emmy Award Winning Film/Video Editor met with Brewington in 1991 and invited him to share his story in a television music documentary titled 'A Star For Marvin Gaye'. Produced by DVIDEO 79 Productions with Howze as writer, director and editor, the 60 minute program showcased Marvin Gaye’s longtime friend and recording engineer Art Stewart, who helped produce many of Marvin’s albums. “A Star For Marvin Gaye was one of my proudest achievements” exclaims Howze. “Many of Marvin Gaye's friends and relatives spoke at the event and on-camera, including Dick Clark, Lou Rawls, Smokey Robinson, Berry Gordy and Marvin’s brother, Frankie Gaye.”
Howze says the documentary was broadcast in the mid '90's in Los Angeles and Chicago and received a Chicago Midwest Emmy Award Nomination For Best Editing in 1999. “We were one of few producers that received Marvin Gaye III’s permission to tell his father’s story on-screen," expresses Howze. “He was so gracious that he also recorded an on-camera introduction for the program.” DVIDEO 79 Productions recently received a grant to digitally remaster 'A Star For Marvin Gaye' for re-broadcast. The documentary is scheduled to premiere on Amazon Prime this fall.
Marvin Gaye is considered as one of the most influential performers of his generation with songs like 'What’s Going On', 'Got To Give It Up' and 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine'. Actress and Vocalist Kim Yarbrough was a finalist on Season 2 of NBC’s The Voice. She credits Marvin’s music as being an inspiration to her career. “That entire year on The Voice was the rocket ride of my life, but strangely, I felt so comfortable and at ease," describes Yarbrough. “ Now is the moment, no time to be nervous. It's time to do it!"
Yarbrough’s success has taken her from the recording studio to the silver screen where she recently portrayed an animated character in Sony-Marvel’s Oscar Winning movie, 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse'. She agrees with Brewington and says this is the perfect time to recognize Marvin Gaye’s achievements. “Marvin Gaye has been a huge part of the Americana soundtrack for many generations,” says Yarbrough, “and he’s just receiving what his name deserves and more.”
The United States Postal Service promises a grand celebration in Marvin Gaye’s first-day-of issue dedication on April 2nd. Tickets for general seating can be reserved through the USPS website. Marvin Gaye commemorative stamps and memorabilia will also be available for purchase during the event.
Marvin Gaye’s Forever stamp comes nearly 78 years after educator and author Booker T. Washington became the first African American to appear on a U.S. postage stamp on April 7, 1940. Marvin will join other notable African Americans that have been honored on a U.S. postage stamp such as Malcolm X, (January 20, 1999; 33 cents), Paul Robeson (January 20, 2004; 37 cents) and Ella Fitzgerald (January 10, 2007; 39 cents).