People’s Choice Awards performances to include H.E.R. rendition of Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’
Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton will also perform at the award ceremony, airing Tuesday on NBC and E!
The performance lineup of the 2021 People’s Choice Awards (PCAs) will include one special performance from H.E.R., honoring one of the most important songs of the last five decades.
The Grammy and Oscar-winning singer/multi-instrumentalist will perform a rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” in commemoration of the song’s 50th anniversary. Released in 1971, What’s Going On the album and its eponymous single served as a career-altering shift for Gaye, allowing him to transition from hit-making prince of Motown Records to a socially conscious and conceptual recording artist.
“What’s Going On” serves as a predecessor for the last five decades of political commentary in Black music, from Stevie Wonder‘s “You Haven’t Done Nothin'” to 2Pac‘s “Keep Your Head Up” and Kendrick Lamar‘s “Alright.”
H.E.R., real name Gabriella Wilson, has paved her own lane in politically conscious songwriting: Earlier this year, she won a Grammy for Song of the Year for her single, “I Can’t Breathe,” a response to the 2020 police killing of George Floyd.
This year, she also took home the Academy Award for Best Original Song for a Motion Picture for “Fight For You,” which she co-wrote and recorded for the film Judas and the Black Messiah, the biopic of Fred Hampton, slain chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party.
Besides Wilson’s commemorative performance, the People’s Choice Awards will also feature performances from Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton.
Aguilera is being honored with the award show’s inaugural “Music Icon” award and is slated to perform a medley of her career-spanning hits. Other honorees of the evening will include Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry, who will receive the “The People’s Icon” award, as well as actor and Hall of Fame wrestler Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson, recipient of “The People’s Champion” award.
In addition to the performers and special honorees, the People’s Choice Awards have also announced the evening’s list of award presenters. This year’s list includes an impressive array of artists, actors and comedians, such as Cardi B, Laverne Cox, Leslie Jones, Lil’ Rel Howery, Mike Epps, Wanda Sykes, and 2020 PCA Fashion Icon recipient Tracee Ellis Ross.
Winners of the PCA’s 40 categories are voted on by the public; voting for the 2021 awards has officially closed. Among the nominees for this year include Johnson and Jones for The Comedy Movie Star of 2021, along with Eddie Murphy and Octavia Spencer. The Male Artist of 2021 category is also stacked with big-name nominees, including The Weeknd, Drake, and Lil Nas X, while Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat, Cardi B and Saweetie are among the nominees for The Female Artist of 2021.
The 2021 PCA’s will air on a first-time NBC and E! simulcast at 9pm EST at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California. Actor/comedian Kenan Thompson will serve as host.
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