Ray Charles To Be Honored at Morehouse With Performing Arts Center
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.
Morehouse College will host a star-studded tribute at the Beverly Hilton Hotel to raise money for the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center, which is the centerpiece of a larger complex, the Morehouse College Center for the Arts.
Honorary co-chairs for the event include former President Bill Clinton, filmmaker and Morehouse alumnus Spike Lee, music moguls Quincy Jones and Clarence Avant, and Charles’ manager for more than 40 years, Joe Adams.
The 12-time Grammy winner’s relationship with Morehouse began eight years ago when he was invited to Atlanta to perform with the college’s jazz ensemble. Bill Cosby, who will host the Sept. 29 event, opened that performance; and a special relationship among Morehouse, Cosby and Charles was born.
Charles, who received an honorary degree from Morehouse, was a long-time friend and supporter of the Atlanta-based historically Black college for men. In 2001, Ray Charles gave the college two $1 million gifts to seal a mutual commitment to find, educate and inspire the next generation of musical pioneers. The Ray Charles Performing Arts Center will enable Morehouse College to train these students once they are found.
“Over the years, Ray Charles has been a generous supporter of Morehouse, not only financially but also through his shared commitment to developing students who will be leaders and pioneers in the music industry,” says Dr. Walter E. Massey, president of Morehouse College. “On Morehouse’s campus, Charles’ music, his voice and his camaraderie will not be soon forgotten.”
The gala will celebrate the launch of a $15 million building campaign for the performing arts center. The evening will feature a series of tributes, both live and on video, as well as a preview of Universal Pictures’ feature film, “Ray” starring Jamie Foxx, which is due in theatres at the end of October.
Artists scheduled to perform during the tribute are: Michael McDonald, James Ingram, Gerald Levert and Angie Stone. The Morehouse College Jazz Ensemble and a host of other entertainers will also pay tribute to Charles, who died on June 10.
Charles’ final CD, “Genius Loves Company” (Concord Records), a collection of duets with famous friends, is due out Aug. 31.
“For almost 50 years we’ve called Ray ‘the genius.’ And he is — take it from me,” says Adams, who managed the music superstar and was his business partner for some 46 years. “He was a man without borders or boundaries, creatively and culturally. Indeed, he and his talents are a gift to all communities.”
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