It’s been nearly 50 years since the 1971 release of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” an observation on society’s injustices. On Friday (Sept. 13), the classic got a 2019 music video, with the lyrics ringing equally as relevant.
Directed by Savanah Leaf and presented by Motown Records as part of the label’s 60th anniversary celebration, the poignant clip interweaves a video of Gaye performing the tune with vignettes of modern-day issues, such as the Flint water crisis, racial struggles with police, lack of affordable insurance and mass shootings.
“We wanted a place that resonates with the song and the history of Motown, while also remaining relevant to the sociopolitical issues in the music video,” Leaf said of filming the clip in Flint, Michigan. “It was very important for us to find real people that resonated with the stories, rather than casting actors.”
“What’s Going On” is the first video from Universal Music Group’s “Never Made” project, a series that creates content for songs that, surprisingly, never had a music video.
Watch the 2019 edition of “What’s Going On” below.