President Barack Obama Leads a Ray Charles Sing-Along Tribute at the White House: Watch

A presidential tribute! President Barack Obama led a Ray Charles sing-along at the White House while filming a PBS special on Friday, February 26.

Obama, 54, took the stage to thank performers Usher, Demi Lovato, Brittany Howard and more when he got caught up in the moment and started singing along to the late singer’s hit “What’d I Say.”

The president, who was also joined by wife Michelle Obama, then proceeded to call Charles “one of the most brilliant and influential musicians of our time.”

Barack Obama
Barack Obama applauds with Kennedy Center honoree Carole King at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 6, 2015. CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/Getty Images

Earlier in the night, Obama promised the audience that he would not sing during the final In Performance event of his administration, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“Over the past seven years, Michelle and I have set aside nights like this to celebrate the music that shaped America,” he explained. “I will not sing. But for our last one, it is fitting that we pay tribute to one of our favorites.”

This wasn’t the first time that Obama burst into song onstage. During an emotional eulogy for the late Reverend Clementa Pinckney in June 2015, he paused his speech to sing a few lines of “Amazing Grace.”

Charles died on June 10, 2004, at the age of 73.

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