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Commentary :: Arts & Culture : Civil & Human Rights : Police State : Poverty & Urban Development

Fuck Ray Charles

Yeah, his music is great, BUT...

--Ray appeared at the 1984 Republican convention singing "America, the Beautiful", giving his imprimatur to an ugly America created by Reagan.
"Ray did "America" and as the cameras moved back and forth from Nancy and Ronald, Bush and Barbara they would zoom in on this black gal with a Reagan/Bush sign.She was the only black person noticeable in the whole convention hall. After Ray finished, Reagan and Bush pulled him out of his seat and grabbing one of Ray's arm each proceeded to walk him off the stage, smiling brightly for the cameras as all the Republican crowd waved flags at them."
"He sang "America the Beautiful" at the Republican Convention in 1984."

--Ray ignored the South African boycott by performing in Sun City, thereby giving support to the apartheid regime of the time.
"...I suggested that he name the names of the artists who had played Sun City in defiance of a UN-sanctioned cultural boycott. I was probably still thinking of our exposé of conservative Africanists fifteen years earlier. Steve wasn't sure that was smart but did it anyway, asking in one of the original lyrics, "Linda Ronstadt, how could you do that?" and singling out Julio Iglesias, Queen, the O Jays, Ray Charles and Rod Stewart. We soon dropped those lyrics to avoid offending other artists who worked with those we were challenging."
"And after much going back and forth, I've listed Sun City boycott violators Ray Charles and Ray Davies, whose contributions to history far preceded the political pigheadedness that makes it so hard to get with them these days."
"When Ray Charles went in 1981 he was forced to cancel his performance in the black township of Soweto because of strong opposition from the community. US performers who have defied the boycott have come home to criticism and picket lines."

--He was a corporate shill.
"Many younger music fans will remember Charles for his series of Diet Pepsi commercials in 1990, which featured him singing the slogan "You got the right one, baby. Uh-huh." So popular were the spots that Advertising Age named Charles its Star Presenter of 1990, and the series was awarded Campaign of the Year in 1991."
"...he sang "Things go better with a Coca-Cola. Things go better with Coke. Life is much more fun when you're refreshed, and Coke refreshes you best. Oh yes it does. Coke has a taste you'll never get tired of, Coke after Coke after Coke."

--Other musicians hated him; he was notoriously hard to work with.

source: musicians' grapevine

His backup singers, the Rayettes, once walked out in the middle of a performance in Chicago, en masse, never to return, because Ray was such an abusive asshole.

He once demanded an entire auditorium be cleared of people because a person snickered while he was abusing his backup singers during a rehearsal. He was pounding on the piano screaming at them, and then turned his vitriol on the sparse audience, and screamed at them too, forcing their departure.


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Re: Fuck Ray Charles

You are right.


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