28 Days of Album Cover Blackness With VSB, Day 14: Marvin Gaye's I Want You (1976)

Illustration for article titled 28 Days of Album Cover Blackness With VSB, Day 14: Marvin Gaye's I Want You (1976)
Image: Marvin Gaye ‘I Want You’ (Motown)

It’s Valentine’s Day so it only makes sense to include an album cover for an album about that good lovin’. Marvin Gaye’s I Want You is that album. And there might not be a Blacker album cover.


Gaye’s 1976 album used Ernie Barnes’ famous “Sugar Shack” painting—altered to include banners for the title of Marvin Gaye’s album—and whew, chile, does it land. Have you ever listened to an album that damn near perfectly fit the cover? That’s this one right here. The music from the album could easily be the soundtrack for this club.

“Sugar Shack” by itself is a Vantablack painting. Though it didn’t gain national attention when Barnes first painted it, it became part of the opening theme for Good Times, and well, that was all she wrote. Barnes’ painting is one of the most famous in Black America. And for good reason. The depiction of a bunch of Black folks jamming it up and moving speaks to our culture and community. It’s simply beautiful. It’s Black and beautiful. Ain’t no way you could have that album cover on this album and it not be one of the most iconic Black album covers ever.

Excuse me, I’ll be right back...after the dance.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.


Mud brought receipts

Ernie Barnes was quite good.

So was Marvin Gaye.

This is the extent of my commentary on these men because everything else has already been said.