Marvin Gaye's classic pulls in big names for a tolerance-teaching video

By Evan Serpick
October 17, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Gwen Stefani: Lester Cohen/WireImage.com

What's Going On: All Star Tribute

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Speaking of healing songs, the mood and message of Marvin Gaye’s 1971 hit ”What’s Going On” couldn’t be more timely. An all-star roster, led by U2’s Bono, recorded a remake of the song in early September, with proceeds earmarked to combat AIDS in Africa. But the events of Sept. 11 led organizers to divert some funds to families of victims of the attacks.

While a video for the song, culled from footage of the recording sessions, is airing on MTV, director Jake Scott just shot a new clip that will debut later this month. In it, artists like P. Diddy, Gwen Stefani, and others are shown wearing blindfolds that they strip off to reveal a series of thought-provoking words like ”Hindu,” ”woman,” and ”patriot” on successive layers of cloth. ”My intention is to disqualify these labels entirely, in an effort, however idealistic, to annihilate inequity, prejudice, and scorn,” says Scott.

Ja Rule wore a blindfold with the words ”Jew,” ”celebrity,” ”Republican,” and ”radical.” When the rapper uncovered his eyes after several takes, he was startled by the lights. ”That woke me up,” he said. Said Scott: ”Well, that’s the point, isn’t it?”

What's Going On: All Star Tribute

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