*“My sister and I ran across my mother and my fathers’ journals and the things we read, we were like, ‘whoa, these are things we didn’t know,’” Zeola Gaye tells EURweb publisher Lee Bailey, as we continue with Part 2 of the illuminating interview.
As the new stage play, “My Brother Marvin,” continues its trek around the country, Zeola admits it was after finding these journals that the decision was made as to the direction that the play would take. They were not going to hold anything back! The journals explain a lot about their parents; details that, according to Zeola, can have a great impact on future generations of their family.
Zeola had no idea that her parents even kept journals, and she found her mother’s childhood particularly shocking, but chose to focus more on the history of Marvin Gay, Sr. in the play, because he is the one who pulled the trigger. She shares how sad it made her father in later years to learn how people felt about him.
“He even said it in one of his letters on one of the pages, ‘I’m not a monster. I just raised my children the best way I could.’”
Mr. Gay is said to have kept journals all the way up until—and even after–the shooting; even when he was living at the residential facility. His family recalls he was always writing.
At this writing, My Brother, MARVIN is in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., nearing the end of a 5-day run at the historic WarnerTheatre. In part 1, Zeola gushed about the star-studded cast her team was able to bring together; including Lynn Whitfield, Clifton Powell, and singer, Keith Washington. In the audio clip below, she tells Bailey why Lynn Whitfield was chosen for the role of Alberta Gay, Marvin’s mother.
According to Zeola, when the play was originally produced 5 years ago, there was music and audiences loved it. But even then people voiced they really wanted to know more of the back story. Incidentally, and we don’t have a lot of details here, but we assume the music – perhaps not properly acquired – is why the original production was shut down? Now, with this new “revamped” version, written by the same woman who penned the original script, Angela Barrow-Dunlap, the audience gets their wish for more ‘back story;’ but no original Marvin Gaye music in a play about the life of Marvin Gaye, is a high price to pay. This version aims to show audiences what made Marvin, well…Marvin. It’s as if they are saying, you know the songs. You’ve heard the lyrics. Hell, by now you can put your mind in ‘recall mode’ and damn near hear the music. We say, if the women in his life want to open the curtain and show us where the content came from, let ‘em. Zeola admits its a tough pill to swallow. All of it ain’t pretty. But her big brother, Marvin, was no saint. This brings us back to the puzzlement of why Marvin’s ex-wife, Janis Gaye, who we don’t think it would be a stretch to assume, has not even seen the play, but is pulling a Spike Lee. Below, she provides commentary about the play on FaceBook.
“I’m baffled…,” Zeola claims, when asked what she thinks Janis will share with audiences in the film she, at one time, was said to be developing. “…what is she bringing to the film except a story about Marvin and her relationship where she cheated on him?” she continues. “I mean, I’m sure they might have had some happy times like I wrote in the book but, what else? She don’t know the ending [sic]. She was not there, you know. She wasn’t there for the last 6-months of his life. What are they bringing to the screen in this film, I have no idea.”
Bailey adds that audiences already know the story, but not the details, as he continues to push in an attempt to identify the exact problem Janis Gaye has with Marvin’s sister and fellow performer (she did background on some records and toured with him as an assistant) writing a play about life with her brother. Then he asks,
“What do you think it is that Jan does not want to come out?”
“The truth,” says Zeola, who mentions that she continues to receive threatening messages and tweets from Jan and Marvin III. Two of which she shares with EURweb below:
If you recall in part 1, Janis claims she and Marvin’s children have nothing to do with denying the play the use of Marvin’s music. Yet The Washington Post writes, “A spokesman for Sony/ATV Music Publishing confirmed that ‘the songs had not been licensed to be used in this play.’ Gaye’s estate, which is controlled by his children, makes decisions on how his music is used.”
When its all said and done, as sad as family dissention is, especially when it comes to our deceased celebrities, these issues may all just boil down to the very human emotion: jealousy. Who did what first, and what kind of attention they are getting because of it.
“Lee, I think it might be our long history, me being Marvin’s sister,” Zeola states. “She hated…the fact that he liked it so much.”
NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER: Following the EURweb publishing of part 1, we received a call from Janis Gaye, who had problems with our story. In all fairness, we invited her to speak with us about her concerns, in an attempt to set the record straight. She accepted the invitation, but when the time came she said, ”I’ve changed my mind.”