On Marvin Gaye’s 1971 classic hit “What’s Going On” the beloved Motown artist sang about issues including war and police brutality. “Picket lines and picket signs/don’t punish me with brutality/talk to me, so you can see/oh, what’s going on,” Gaye sang.
Now, 48 years later, an official video has been made for the timeless single, and not much has changed. The visual opens up with footage of Gaye preparing to perform the song live on stage. “I just want to ask a question. Who really cares? To save a world in despair. Who really cares?” Gaye asks.
The Savanah Leaf-directed video then cuts to recent footage from Flint, Michigan with a voice-over of a woman speaking about the Flint water crisis.
A woman then appears in her kitchen washing her baby’s head with the toxic lead-contaminated water from her sink before the video cuts to footage of a black male who is possibly about to be arrested by police.
“14 million Americans will be uninsured next year,” can be heard in the background as men wait in a waiting room. A white teary-eyed and stoic teenage girl then walks the empty hallways of a school that was ravaged by a mass shooting.
The new video for “What’s Going On” also features footage from several marches and demonstrations that took place for various issues such as adequate health care and insurance and clean water.
The “What’s Going On” video concludes with footage of Marvin Gaye singing the song live before a quote from the iconic artist appears on the screen. Gaye is quoted, “We’ve got to find a way to bring some lovin’ here today.”
The video for “What’s Going On” comes prior to the reissuing of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On Live album, which is slated to be released on Oct. 18 via Motown/UME. The album features Gaye’s May 1972 concert in Washington D.C., featuring his only full album performance of his classic What’s Going On, as Rolling Stone reports.
In October, the timeless album will be reissued as a standalone live album for the very first time. Gaye’s performance in Washington D.C. at the Kennedy Center was significant being that D.C. is Gaye’s hometown and his performance was the singer’s first live show in four years.
The reissuing of What’s Going On Live also comes in the midst of Motown Records releasing 60 never-before-heard songs from the label’s vaults to commemorate its 60th anniversary, as the Detroit Free Press reports. The massive release contains unearthed tracks by Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, Diana Ross & the Supremes, the Jackson 5 and Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, among others, which will be released on Friday, September 20 to streaming services. Take a look at the video below.