Voodoo Ray, a New York dancer who appeared in some of Hip Hop’s most classic music videos, passed away on Tuesday (October 17). Tributes have poured in for Ray, born Raymond Ultarte, whose footwork won him a foothold in the early days of Hip Hop and beyond. Tonight a beautiful tribute was done in his honor
Ultarte was just 50 years old at the time of his passing, and the cause of death has not been announced. Friend John Rich wrote on Facebook: “I’m so sorry to say that class and practice will be cancelled tomorrow due to the sudden loss of a great dear friend. Rest In Paradise my brother Mr Voodoo Ray.”
The New York-bred dancer was born Raymond Ultarte, and attended the High School of Fashion Industries in Manhattan, according to his Facebook page. Before making a name for himself as Voodoo Ray, he went by Boogie Ray, according to XXL magazine.
A fixture of the N.Y. nightlife, helped book countless DJs to spin at parties over the years. He also made a name appearing in music videos throughout the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Along with DJ Tony Touch, Ray also hosted NYC’s famous Funkbox dance parties.
In the aftermath of his death, hip-hop luminaries from across the East Coast have paid their respects to the N.Y. stalwart, whose career spanned at least 30 years. DJ Tony Touch blacked out an image in memory of his fallen friend. The legendary DJ Premier revealed he learned of Ray’s death through Touch.
“I literally just got news from Toca that Voodoo Ray has passed… I Told Tony Don’t Shut It Down!!! Let’s Celebrate His Life R.I.P. Ray,” wrote Premier in a tweet. His was just one of several reactions from many in world of hip-hop, with folks like DJ Clark Kent, Just Blaze, Questlove, Termanology and others also showing love.
Voodoo Ray’s moves can be seen across dozens of music videos, such as:
Run-DMC’s “It’s Like That,”
Busta Rhymes’ “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See.”