11 June 2004

.::Ray Charles::. Dead at 73

For him, I will mourn.

He didn't send our military to invade a small, militarily inferior country like .::Grenada::. and kill untold numbers of innocent civilians. He was an artist, a profound and ingenious singer and songwriter. "He could make a Pepsi soft drink commercial sound soulful."

He was .::courageous::. at a time when courage could get you killed, or relegate you to the scrap heap of could-have-been Black performers. Sometime in the 1950s, a promoter said he was going to segregate the audience and put Black folks upstairs and the whites downstairs. Ray told him he should have his folks close to him (Blacks downstairs, white upstairs) since he was Black, and that he wouldn't play otherwise. The promoter sued Ray and won.

In 1972, he made an album of protest songs (about poverty and civil rights) titled A Message from the People, that featured other greats like .::Stevie Wonder::. and arrangements by .::Quincy Jones::. He said the song I Gotta Do Wrong, an unfortunate narrative of the necessity to attract attention "by any means necessary" to right society's wrongs, was the story of his life.

For him, I will mourn.

More on Mr. Charles

No comments: