Dear Mr. Ray Charles, by Jade Marie B.

Dear Ray Charles,

Essay written by Jade Marie B.

I feel that you are a very inspirational person. You are not only inspirational to upcoming musicians, but also to me because I’m an aspiring actress and there are a lot of obstacles I’m going to face. I could relate to you as a composer facing problems. For example, during rehearsals for a play, while there are several actors lined up for one part it starts to get very competitive. Some actors would try anything just to get the part that you’re up for. I auditioned for a part in a play but another girl also had the same part. While I was practicing my lines she felt less confident in herself because I was doing a good job. She then started spreading rumors about me just to make me feel terrible that I got the same part that she had.  The RICH principle, I am responsible for my behavior helped me ignore her and stay focused. While reading about your life and seeing how hard it was for you to overcome obstacles, such as being African American trying to be successful, it was important for you to ignore the negative people who were trying to come in the way of you achieving your dreams. You too Mr. Charles were responsible for your behavior. In spite of all the challenges that you had to face you still became an icon.

Mr. Charles, you also inspire me to never give up no matter what type of situations or struggles I have to face. Another important RICH principle that you used was I matter. You had to focus on trying to make it through life being blind which contains many hardships. You also state that your mother was very hard on you even though you were blind. What caught my attention was when you admitted how your mother would say just because your blind, doesn’t mean you’re stupid. I feel that her telling you that was a very powerful quote to not only blind people but to all people who doubt themselves and feel that just because they have problems in their life, they will never be able to succeed. Your mother Mr. Charles helped always remind you that you mattered.

I strongly feel that you inspire me to always strive to achieve my goals.  I read about how you grew up in poverty and you didn’t have a lot of money, but you still made a positive outcome with your life. This helped me remember that whatever I really want in life, I have to work hard for it. Back then, I know it was very hard not being a wealthy person and being an African American man coming from Georgia, trying to pursue your dreams. I can relate to working hard because when I had to audition for the high school I wanted to attend, I had to stand in the rain with hundreds of other talented kids. Still I knew I mattered so I wasn’t discouraged. Learning about your life and struggles Mr. Charles enabled me to apply the RICH principles that I’ve been learning in the RICH program that connect to both of our lives.

Thank you, Mr. Charles for encouraging me to always remember that I matter and to have self respect.


Jade Marie B.
Grade: 8
Age: 14

Read Mr. Charles’s Bio