SOUTH LOS ANGELES — A South Los Angeles post office has been renamed to commemorate the life of the “Prince of Soul” Marvin Gaye.
Members of the Gaye family, local elected officials, Los Angeles Postmaster Joe Zapata and community members gathered at the Vermont Avenue Post Office June 15 to celebrate the dedication.
U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, introduced House Resolution 1496 to rename the former Dockweiler Post Office the Marvin Gaye Post Office.
Community activist Najee Ali said, “Zeola Gaye and myself want to thank Congressmember Karen Bass from the bottom of our hearts” for her efforts in changing the name of the post office.
According to Solomon Rivera, chief of staff for City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, approximately 250 people attended the ceremony. Attendees gathered to pose with an enlarged version of the postage stamp released in Gaye’s honor earlier this year.
In November 2018, the USPS announced the new Marvin Gaye Forever stamp. It went on sale April 2, 2019, in celebration of what would have been the singer’s 80th birthday. It includes a portrait of the “Prince of Motown” against a light-blue background and comes in a pane of 16 stamps. It is not permitted to be sold individually.
Born in Washington, D.C., Gaye moved to Detroit in 1960 and soon came to the attention of Berry Gordy, who signed him to Tamla Records, an offshoot of his Motown label.
Gaye is known for top hits like “What’s Going On,” “Mercy Mercy Me” and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” along with duets he recorded with Mary Wells and Tammi Terrell. Along with his stunning vocals, he is often recognized for his skills as a songwriter and record producer.
He moved to Los Angeles in 1973 and spent the rest of his life here. He was shot and killed by his father on April 1, 1984, the day before what would have been his 45th birthday. Subsequent to his death, Gaye received several awards including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Album.
Biographer David Ritz said, “His songs were prayers, meditations, strategies for survival.” Outside of the spotlight, his family knew him as a precious family member.
At the ceremony, Zeola Gaye, Gaye’s younger sister said, “Marvin was a very complicated man. Genius, sweet, loving. Marvin was a little bit of everything. I’d just like to say thank you to everybody for loving my brother so much.”
Gaye also shared how she believes her brother would have reacted to the ceremony saying, “he would look around and he would say, ‘how sweet it is to be loved by you.’”
The Marvin Gaye Post Office is located at 3585 S. Vermont Ave., across the street from the USC campus.