Recording artists Ashanti, Kenny Rogers, and Chaka Khan, and Reverend Jesse Jackson were among the luminaries who honored Ray Charles this week. At ceremonies held in Atlanta and Los Angeles on Monday, the legendary singer was inducted into the Music Icons stamp series.
The first event, held at Morehouse College’s Ray Charles Performing Arts Center, featured performances by Ashanti and the Morehouse College Glee Club. The second event, held at the Grammy Museum, featured performances by Chaka Khan and Summer Sessions.
“Frank Sinatra, himself a stamp honoree, once characterized Ray Charles as ‘the only true genius in show business,’ and certainly, if anyone was a musical genius, it was Ray Charles,” said U.S. Postal Service Judicial Officer William Campbell, who dedicated the stamp at the Atlanta ceremony. “Despite being blind and having a young life marked by tragedy, hardship and tremendous challenges, Ray Charles went on to have a remarkable 58-year career playing music that blurred the lines of jazz, gospel, blues and, in later years, country. In doing so, he became the personification of the American Dream.”
“It is with great pleasure that we honor a man who not only had an incalculable impact on the face of contemporary soul, R&B, gospel and rock, but also touched people individually,” said U.S. Postal Service Sales Vice President Cliff Rucker, who dedicated the stamp at the Los Angeles event. “The third in our new Music Icons series, Ray Charles’ stamp, another tribute to his legacy, will join those of distinguished performers Lydia Mendoza and Johnny Cash, which were dedicated earlier this year. And how fitting that Ray Charles and Johnny Cash, who in life were such great friends and recorded two duets together, will be reunited in the form of postage stamps.”
The Ray Charles Forever® stamp is available at usps.com/stamps, by calling 800-STAMP-24 (800-782-6724), and at Post Offices nationwide. The Music Icons series, which launched May 15, 2013, with the Lydia Mendoza Forever stamp, honored Johnny Cash earlier this year.