The John F. Kennedy Center will pay tribute to Marvin Gaye in How Sweet It Is: A Tribute to Marvin Gaye hosted by Whoopi Goldberg on June 5.
The event will honor Gaye’s contributions to Motown and will recognize his influences in the musical genres of R&B and soul. With hits like “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “What’s Going On,” and “Sexual Healing,” Gaye left his mark in the music industry long after he was gone. When he was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, his voice was described as “edged with grit yet tempered with sweetness.”
The inaugural recipients of the Kennedy Center Award for the Human Spirit, philanthropist Wallis Annenberg and installation artist Theaster Gates will also be honored at the gala.
The event will feature performances that honor Gaye’s career. Leslie Odom Jr. of Hamilton, Jussie Smollett of Empire, and Mary Wilson of the original Supremes are among the scheduled performers. Other performers include BJ The Chicago Kid and local talents such as tap-dancing performers The Manzari Brothers and The Mellow Tones, a vocal group from D.C.’s Duke Ellington School of the Arts. The event is described as “one of D.C.’s social events of the year,” and will be a fitting way to honor Gaye, a Washington D.C. native, who is a pride and joy of the city.