Wife of the Senate President and founder of a leading maternal and child health NGO, Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Mrs. Toyin Saraki, was among the eminent personalities who attended the final music concert of the Obama administration, ‘Smithsonian Salutes Ray Charles: In Performance at the White House’.
In a private visit to the United States of America to mark the 2016 Black History Month, Mrs. Saraki, who was invited by President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, used the opportunity to attend the event on February 24.
A longstanding supporter of the creative arts and music in Nigeria and globally, Saraki joined the Obamas, performing artists, Usher, Demi Lovato and Grammy Award winner, Brittany Howard, to pay tribute to the enduring legacy of Ray Charles.
During the White House tribute to the international music legend, Saraki underscored the important contribution of music to culture and development. Attired in her signature African print gown with traditional head-tie and accompanied by her son, Mohammed-Kabir, the Senate president’s wife expressed appreciation to the American first couple for the warm and welcoming reception.
“I am delighted that during the Black History Month, the superlatively inspirational musical tradition of late Ray Charles Robinson is being honoured so singularly, by current musical greats,” she said.
US RnB singer, Usher, and gospel recording artist, Yolanda Adams, were among contemporary artists that performed the late Charles’ music to an audience that included eminent guests such as renowned civil rights crusader, Reverend Al Sharpton; legal luminary, Sam Seymour, and his wife, Karen Patton Seymour; Directors of the Smithsonian Museum and the Ray Charles Foundation, Kirk Johnson and Valerie Ervin respectively.
Despite hosting over a dozen ‘In Performance’ events at the White House over the last seven years, at this final and penultimate musical concert, Obama described Charles as one of his musical favourites who continues to influence generations of musicians.
In 2009, the founder-president of Wellbeing Foundation Africa participated in Black History Month in the state of South Carolina, in a visit to the historic Benedict College, where she was honoured by the South Carolina State House of Representatives in a House Resolution for her WellBeing Foundation Africa’s humanitarian effort for reproductive health and girl’s education on February 25, 2009.


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