Ray Charles’ music was first used in a political advertisement that appeared in a Lincoln Project video with permission from the Ray Charles Foundation.
The campaign group showed the video yesterday and called on Americans to get out and vote and prevent the re-election of President Donald Trump.
The Lincoln Project made available on Twitter a video with scenes from all over the United States that included Charles’ “America the Beautiful” as the soundtrack. The video begins with the message “The time has come” before showing scenes from farms, small towns, cities and landmarks such as Mount Rushmore and Seattle’s Space Needle.
Vote for America. pic.twitter.com/QDV44f2OKQ
– The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) November 2, 2020
The video is supported by the last verse of Charles’ song with the lyrics: “You know, I wish I had someone to help me sing this song/(America, America, God has shed his grace on you)/America, I love you America, you see/My God, he poured out his grace upon you/ And you should love him for it/’For he, he, he, he crowned your goodness/ He told me he would do it with brotherhood/(From the sea to the shining sea)/Oh Lord, O Lord, I thank you, Lord/(Shining sea)”.
The video then ends with a message superimposed on a video of the Statue of Liberty, which says: “Vote for hope, for change, for America. At the time of writing this article, the Lincoln Project video has already been viewed 1.2 million times on Twitter and shared more than 20,000 times.
Lincoln Project co-founder Steve Schmidt shared the video on Twitter and said, “This is the first time the music of the great Ray Charles has been used in a political advertisement. Many thanks to the Ray Charles Foundation. @ProjectLincoln SELECTS HIM OUT”.
The Ray Charles Foundation’s approval of the Lincoln Project contrasts with the many occasions when musicians have tried to prevent Trump from using their music at events and rallies without their permission.
Rihanna, Steven Tyler, Pharrell Williams, Elton John, Adele, The Rolling Stones, Brian May and Queen, Brendon Urie, R.E.M. and the estates of Prince and Tom Petty are just a few of the musicians who have stated that Trump has not asked for their permission to use their music or who have asked his campaign to stop using their songs.
Washington Newsday has asked the Ray Charles Foundation to comment.