Sunday, May 19, 2024

Obamas Turn Up for Ray Charles Night at the White House (Video)

The Obamas dance during the taping of "In Performance at the White House" celebrating Ray Charles in the East Room of the White House on February 24, 2016 in Washington, DC.
The Obamas dance during the taping of “In Performance at the White House” celebrating Ray Charles in the East Room of the White House on February 24, 2016 in Washington, DC.

*Usher, Anthony Hamilton, Andra Day, Jussie Smollett and Yolanda Adams joined President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to honor Ray Charles at the administration’s final “In Performance at the White House” special.

“Even as a young man, he had the rich, raw honey tone of an old soul,” Obama said Wednesday evening, calling Charles one of his musical favorites. Whether a person was overcome by feelings of love, longing or loss, he said, “Ray Charles had the rare ability to collapse our weightiest emotions into a single note.”

“He couldn’t see us, but we couldn’t take our eyes off of him,” the president said.

Alabama Shakes singer Brittany Howard, Demi Lovato and The Band Perry were also among the performers, while the audience included some of Charles’ children, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Anthony Hamilton (R) and Andra Day (L) perform "Let the Good Times Roll" during the taping of "In Performance at the White House" celebrating Ray Charles in the East Room of the White House on February 24, 2016 in Washington, DC.
Anthony Hamilton (R) and Andra Day (L) perform “Let the Good Times Roll” during the taping of “In Performance at the White House” celebrating Ray Charles in the East Room of the White House on February 24, 2016 in Washington, DC.

Andra Day and Anthony Hamilton kicked off the performances with a rendition of “Let the Good Times Roll.” Brittany Howard followed with the gospel-tinged “Unchain My Heart,” after which Lovato delivered “You Don’t Know Me.”

Usher performed “Georgia On My Mind” and ended the night with “What I’d Say,” which brought the audience to its feet.

PBS will air the hour-long “Smithsonian Salutes Ray Charles: In Performance at the White House” nationwide on Friday, Feb. 26.

Watch the entire show below, beginning at 1:35:28 (The turnup begins at 2:29:51):

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