As Marvin stood at center court, a syncopated beat machine was turned on. For several minutes, all I could hear was that funky beat.
Suddenly, loud shrieks began to emanate from the rafters. Marvin typically got this type of response when he walked onstage. Now however, the noise sounded like primal screams of the doomed as they descended into hell. I laughed uncontrollably out of sheer nervousness. What was going on (pun intended) I wondered?
He still hadn™t started the song.
Then he started to sing¦ and he sang very slowly, drawing out every syllable of every word. Marvin took a full minute to sing the first line of the Anthem.
As Marvin was delivering that very first line, I felt like I was struck by lightning. I knew with certainty that I was witnessing something very special”a watershed cultural event that would be talked about many decades into the future.
Between the second and third lines of the Anthem, our entire section arose en masse and began clapping to the beat which we continued to do for the rest of the song. For what seemed like hours, we weren™t in the Fabulous Forum¦we were in the pews of Marvin™s church¦a church none of us white suburbanites would likely ever visit in person. Through the most unlikely of musical vehicles, Marvin gave us the essence of Soul, personal and collective.
Carl Lewis was unavailable for comment.