40 Years After Gaye’s Hit, John Legend Explores ‘What’s Going On…Now’

BY Anne Davenport and Jeffrey Brown  May 4, 2012 at 12:25 PM EDT

UPDATE | This entry was originally posted Feb. 17, 2012.

Jeffrey Brown recently had a chance to sit down with John Legend as the singer-songwriter helped the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts launch “What’s Going On…Now,” a national arts, education and digital media campaign. The effort is intended to engage youth while marking the 40th anniversary of Marvin Gaye’s album of the same name and his 1972 performance at the Kennedy Center during its inaugural year.

The Newshour plans to report reports Friday on the progress of the campaign as students across the country create videos, photos, poems and music that address issues of the day, from the economy to war to the environment. Some will come recently came to Washington, D.C., to participate in a national youth summit in May when Legend performs performed Gaye’s work at the Kennedy Center. (We’ll post Jeff’s piece here as soon as possible.)

Here are two interviews: one with Legend on why he’s doing this and what he hopes to achieve, and one with Harry Weinger, vice president of Universal Music Enterprises, who is the producer of several deluxe editions of Gaye’s classic LPs, including “What’s Going On.” He tells the back story about why the song was first recorded.

But first, you can listen to Gaye’s classic song here: