Michigan Declares January 20 as "What's Going On" Day for Marvin Gaye

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It's been 50 years since Marvin Gaye released the iconic single, and America is still asking the same question: "What's Going On." The great state of Michigan has declared tomorrow, Wednesday, January 20, as "What's Going On" Day to recognize the 50th anniversary of the instantly classic Motown release.

RELATED: January 1981: Marvin Gaye Releases "In Our Lifetime"

The declaration was spearheaded by the state's continuously impressive governor, Gretchen Whitmer--known lovingly among her constituents as "Big Gretch"--in conjunction with the Motown Museum. Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist signed a "special tribute" document citing the song for its pioneering social and political messages.

“Having this tribute on the calendar provides us with an important moment — one where we can come together as a unified state to pause, reflect and appreciate the need for ideas, perspective, love and understanding. These are values that mean more today than ever before,” Whitmer said in a press statement. “Through the recognition of ‘What’s Going On’ Day, we hope to bring awareness to Marvin Gaye’s profound words as his timeless music remains in our hearts and minds and continues inspiring generations to come.”

“As we come out of a very challenging year, it’s more important than ever to reflect on Marvin Gaye’s prolific and timeless lyrics to inspire a spirit of connection in 2021,” Robin Terry, Motown Museum CEO and chairwoman, explained in a statement. "‘What’s Going On’ Day will serve as a reminder of his impact and legacy — bringing awareness to the issues of today, encouraging active dialogue between groups and individuals and acknowledging the important role Motown music continues to play in uniting us all.”

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Lionel Richie plays piano as he rehearses on stage at NBC Studios in Rockefeller Center for an appearance on the Saturday Night Live television show, New York, New York, December 10, 1982. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images)
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