April 9, 2003. Ray Charles takes a bow after he sang with Willie Nelson at a concert in New York City. (Reuters)
Usher, Demi Lovato, Yolanda Adams and The Band Perry are among the contemporary artists heading to the White House to celebrate the late Ray Charles.
The White House says Leon Bridges, Andra Day, Anthony Hamilton, Brittany Howard, Sam Moore and Jussie Smollett have also been invited to Wednesday’s taping of “Smithsonian Salutes Ray Charles: In Performance at the White House.” The program is to be broadcast Friday on PBS stations nationwide.
It will be the 16th such program held under President Barack Obama.
Michelle Obama has planned a daytime workshop with some of the invited artists for more than 130 middle, high school and college students from around the country.
Charles, known for such hits as “Georgia on My Mind” and “Hit the Road Jack,” died in June 2004.