Singer-songwriter John Legend and students from Washington’s Duke Ellington School of the Arts performed Marvin Gaye’s classic “What’s Going On” at the Kennedy Center today.
The event was to help launch the Kennedy Center’s new national education initiative “What’s Going On … NOW,” a national arts and digital media campaign directed at youth.
“What’s Going On … NOW” asks young people to reflect on similarities and differences between the times reflected in Gaye’s groundbreaking album and today. The album, released in 1971, was a watershed moment for Motown Records, which had resisted social themes in much of its music until the Washington, D.C., native broke through with “What’s Going On.” They can share their perspectives on www.whatsgoingonnow.org.
The project will culminate in two performances of the entire “What’s Going On” album featuring Legend, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and the National Symphony Orchestra. Those performances are scheduled for May 3-4. Gaye performed the entire album at the Kennedy Center on May 1, 1972.
Check out Legend talking soul music, Marvin Gaye and performing the signature song off the album.