Universal Music Group (UMG), Motown Records and The Root, along with special guest House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), celebrated the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) with a reception as part of the 2019 CBCF Annual Legislative Session.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
New York Congressman Hakeem Jeffries was present at Friday’s celebration for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.
On Friday, the Universal Music Group (UMG), Motown Records and The Root, along with special guest House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), celebrated the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) with a reception as part of the 2019 CBCF Annual Legislative Session in Washington, D.C.
The reception followed a panel discussion focused on the arts and activism. The panel premiered a new visual take of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” representing the first video from Universal Music Group’s “Never Made” project.
The project is a series that creates compelling content for songs that never had an accompany music video. The video, directed by Savanah Leaf and presented by Motown Records, explores current issues through Gaye’s nearly 50-year-old classic song and Leaf’s visual storytelling. The panel conversation explored the relationship between the arts and activism, highlighted ways artists empower their audiences to engage in the political process, and discussed the ongoing influence and cultural impact of arts and entertainment.
Shot over the course of four days in Detroit and Flint, Michigan, the video features many community members. Savanah Leaf, whose directorial credits include the award-winning short film The Ayes Have It and music videos for Common and Gary Clark Jr., explains, “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. It was very important for us to find real people that resonated with the stories, rather than casting actors.”
Flint mayor Karen Weaver and pivotal activists involved in the Flint water crisis – including Ariana Hawk, who was featured on the cover of TIME with her young son at the height of the crisis – can be seen in the video. Steve Smith, who also has deep roots in the community and worked for Motown as one of the recording engineers on “What’s Going On,” also makes an appearance. Gun violence, the shortcomings of the American healthcare system, police shootings and other topics are also addressed by the video.
Leaf notes, “This is a historic song for an important moment in history, and what’s beautiful is that its message is timeless and universal. It’s about human emotions, human relationships and a coming together. My hope is that our music video will remind people to continue asking the question Marvin Gaye asked in 1971.”
About Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group (UMG) is the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audiovisual content in more than 60 countries. Featuring the most comprehensive catalog of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world. Committed to artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans. Universal Music Group is a Vivendi company. Find out more at: http://www.universalmusic.com