Callin’ Out Beyonce’…At Last

06 Feb


Etta don’t play, baby.  Evidently, she also doesn’t care much for Beyonce’ either.  Even though Beyonce’ Knowles (has everyone forgotten that she has a last name) played Etta James in the recent Cadillac Records and they played nice on the red carpet at the premiere in December, Etta told a Seattle concert audience (Colette, were you there?) that she “can’t stand Beyonce'”.

Beyonce' as Etta James

Beyonce' as Etta James

Now, that’s interesting, but I find the reporting a bit more interesting.  Here is the USA Today’s published quote:

You guys know your president, right?” she began. “I tell you that woman he had singing for him, singing my song — she’s going to get her a – – whupped. . . . I can’t stand Beyoncé. She has no business up there, singing up there on a big ol’ president day, gonna be singing my song that I’ve been singing forever.”

Now, here is the total quote, via MTV, that USA Today conveniently edited:

“You guys know your president, right? You know the one with the big ears?” began her rant, a recording of which was obtained by TMZ. “Wait a minute, he ain’t my president. He might be yours; he ain’t my president. But I tell you that woman he had singing for him, singing my song — she’s going to get her a– whipped.

“The great Beyoncé,” James went on. “Like I said, she ain’t mine. … I can’t stand Beyoncé. She has no business up there, singing up there on a big ol’ president day, gonna be singing my song that I’ve been singing forever.”

To hear the audio for yourself, click on TMZ within the second quote.

Of all the media outlets carrying the story, only MTV publishes the whole quote.  Now, just why was the great Etta James edited so?  Is it because she isn’t lock step with the legions on “The Great O”?   At least MTV has some journalistic integrity.  (Never thought I’d type THAT.)  

I’m with Etta, however.  I can’t stand Beyonce’ either.  Totally overrated and overhyped.  Jennifer Hudson put her to absolute shame in Dreamgirls.  If not for her stage father, Beyonce’ would be singing back up somewhere.

As for who “owns” At Last, I’ll let you be the judge….

  Beyonce’ in character, paying tribute to Etta James at Fashion Rocks

ETA: The Chicago Sun-Times reports that The Obamas and Beyonce’ are “stung” by Etta’s remarks.  They also indicate that planners of the Inaugural Ball didn’t even know Etta was still performing and many of the younger people likely didn’t even know she’s alive.  I’m sure that makes Etta feel better.

However, they add this last tidbit:

•    As for James’ biting remarks, a couple of family members have been quoted as saying they may have been the result of ”over-medication” for an undisclosed ailment.

Where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire.  Even if Etta was “out of her mind” (which it certainly doesn’t sound so in the audio), perhaps her true feelings were revealed?   But certainly ETTA couldn’t be vocally in discord with The Great One OR Beyonce’, right?  No, she’s just either senile, over-medicated, or a “bitter old woman”.

**/sarcasm off**

ETA ETA:      The backtracking has begun.


Posted by on February 6, 2009 in divas, Etta James, music chicks, music legends


Tags: , , ,

20 responses to “Callin’ Out Beyonce’…At Last

  1. blueberry

    February 6, 2009 at 8:15 am

    Actually I did read (and hear on audio) the entire quote somewhere on the internet. Not a fan of Beyonce’; Etta is a different story. No clue as to why this ugliness occurred, perhaps it’s just to get publicity, perhaps it was to get laughs (possibility after hearing the audio) or perhaps it is how she really feels. Never put much stock in celebrity antics – maybe myopic of me to short-change them this way, but my interest in them is reduced to the art they are offering, be it acting, comedy, literature, athletic sportmanship or music.

  2. music maven

    February 6, 2009 at 8:41 am

    I actually think that it was mostly performance “banter”, but there’s something there. Etta has always been a non-conformist and pretty much says what’s on her mind, no matter the consequence. That’s just how she rolls.

    I think the “feud” is overblown by the media, but Etta James is a legend and one of the few still left from the Golden Age of R&B that is still performing. I think that she might have been offended by the fact that Beyonce’ is singing “her song” all over town, particularly at such a high-profile event. After all, Etta fought “the fight” on the front lines so that the Beyonce’s of the world could be gazillionaires by 30. While Beyonce has a voice, much of her popularity is good PR.

    Personally, I dig it when some of the older peeps throw out the political correctness and just tell it like it is. B.B. King is the same way.

  3. Shrewspeaks

    February 6, 2009 at 11:03 am

    I don’t see this as star antics, sounds like to me Etta was offended. And if I do recall, didn’t Beyonce also had another run in with Aretha Franklin earlier this year?

    Look, it’s plain and simple. These women are in my view justifiably irked by this woman. They have toiled and put up with unknown hardships and unspeakable treatment building their careers and craft on the road over the years. They have dealt with racism, sexism and demons of the music industry to survive and at time thrive.

    If Beyonce had shown just the slightest deference to what these women have gone through and respected their journies; perhaps she would not trigger their public rath.

    Martin Scorsese in 1994 did a documentary on Eric Clapton. He origionally had a segment that showed the evolution of the Blues from Muddy Waters, Robert Cray and Leadbelly into what Clapton was doing. Clapton pretty much demanded that Scorsese remove the footage because he believed he was not worthy of comparison to these blues legends. That is respect.

    Honor the influence…that is all Etta is saying. Why does CNN call her crotchetty? If BB King called a young immatator out for not being respectful…count on it he would not be villafied like this.

    On a side note…I saw Etta perform just a few short years ago…I was deeply surprised to learn that this trail blazor was not singing at the first dance.

    • sierra walker

      March 16, 2010 at 3:26 pm

      Beyonce was just doing what she was asked to do. Etta James should not have went to Beyonce about the situation, she should have went to the director and who decided to put Beyonce in her position years ago. So Etta James had any right for rudeness and jealousy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. music maven

    February 6, 2009 at 11:35 am

    I think Beyonce’ tried to “honor the influence” at the Fashion Rocks event. If you watch it to the end, she introduces Etta and thanks her, etc.

    However, I think you are exactly correct, Shrew. Because of the signficance of the event and the use of “her” song, she should have been invited to participate. (Another “screw up”.)

    Etta has never been delicate or soft-peddled anything. This is just her way. And, it was in the context of a performance to a relatively small audience. It’s not like she got up at The Grammys and said this. I’m not sorry she did, though.

    This shows me that those who don’t “get in line” with the President, will pay in the media. I mean, I picked this up last night because I thought it was interesting and I love Etta James. This morning, it’s everywhere. It’s like there’s an effort to quell any dissention. Scary stuff.

  5. music maven

    February 6, 2009 at 11:36 am

    BTW, Shrew, Beyonce’ referred to Tina Turner as the “Queen” at last year’s Grammys, which naturally did not sit well with Ree Ree.

    Aretha gets pissed

  6. Shrewspeaks

    February 6, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Yes I know she did…and that is what I mean by respect or lack there of. Beyonce is playing in a world she obviously doesn’t have deep emotions about or else she would have not made the error with the title…nor would she have accepted the engagement without including Etta or if Etta declined…singing another song for the occasion.

  7. Shrewspeaks

    February 6, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Either way…
    Miss B ain’t even in the same class with these titans of soul, jazz and R&B!

  8. little Deb

    February 6, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Changing the music genre here, but I just read this on CMT and have to say that I love Merle Haggard.

    Merle Haggard on Carrie Underwood
    Posted: February 6th, 2009 at 10:47 am | By: Alison Bonaguro

    Merle Haggard got on the phone to talk about an upcoming Cheyenne show, and guess what the conversation eventually turned to? Today’s country music and, more specifically, Carrie Underwood. “I like her, but where’s the songs?” he said. He also said country music today is so perfect. Maybe too perfect. “There are no surprises,” he said. “Everything is going to be perfect, and I can’t even hear someone breathe. That’s just my opinion. The electronic digital computer, anyone can do a record nowadays. You don’t have to stay in key or they’ll put you in key.” And he added that there is no better evidence of that than when you see an artist in concert: “You don’t really know who can sing or can’t until you see them in person, then you’re like, ‘Oh, my God, what happened?’”

    and CMT didn’t print this part.

    Haggard, 71, tells America’s Globe, “Carrie Underwear, or Underwood. I mean, I like her, but where’s the songs. You have to get past the belly buttons and the videos.
    “Anyone can do a record nowadays – you don’t have to stay in key; they’ll (producers) put you in key.”

  9. music maven

    February 6, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    See, why the editing?

    Media manipulation at it’s finest. Thank God for the interwebs.


  10. colette

    February 6, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Hi Little Deb! Love that Haggard quote — to me Carrie Underwear (as a performer) is a Barbie Doll with a big singing voice in search of a personality. And while I think Beyonce is obviously gifted, and totally gorgeous, she too seems to have no real musical identity of her own.

    But I got to weight in on Etta, because I saw her live very recently.

    She briefly dissed Beyonce, announcing before singing “At Last” that she could whip her butt. And she certainly did on that signature tune, which she can still sing the hell out of.

    However, Etta was (sadly) a hot mess otherwise. An opening act and her own excellent band played the bulk of the show. Sh efinally came out glammed up and in a wheelchair (which she’s been using a while now, due to arthritis) and did a very short and very weird set.

    She was doing a lot of obscene gesturing (which I’ve seen from her before) but the real disappointment was how little she actually SANG. She’dlistessly half-speak, half-sing parts of lyrics, and in one case (“Piece of My Heart”) she just let the crowd sing the chorus without her.

    Some longtime Etta fans were so incensed they stomped out, and others left wondering if she was stoned, or senile or just didn’t give a fig. It was sad, because when she sang “At Last” and a great encore, it was clear she still has the mojo…..

  11. little Deb

    February 6, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    hey yourself colette. Sorry to hear about your Etta experience. And you described Carrie Underwood perfectly “in search of a personality”. I have seen a few videos and she has a great voice, but I would not recognize her on the radio. Maybe I’m getting old, but that happens to me with a good portion of new artists that I would even bother listening to. That’s whats missing “an identity”.

    Oh well I’m seeing Van Morrison in a few weeks – so it’s all good.

    And MM, regarding the backtracking. Whoever started the whole “politically correct” thing should be tarred and feathered.

    P.S. Did you ever do that Conway post? Did I miss it?

  12. shrewspeaks

    February 6, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Colette, I am sorry that was your experience. When I saw Etta just a few years ago at Carnegie Hall she was fabulous, full of strong voice and sang a dynamite set.

  13. colette

    February 6, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    Shrew, I think she really has declined — or at least was very much off her game the night I saw her. A few years ago I recall her being a whole lot better too.

    She is getting up there now (71). And beyond that, I wonder about someone who gets major liposuction. Probably saved her life, but I know it can mess with you in mysterious ways to have half your stomach removed…..

  14. coffee

    February 8, 2009 at 3:40 am

    Etta James + Beyonce = Wicked Catfight

  15. AlissaMonae'

    July 17, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Actually it really doesn’t belong to either of them…..this song belongs to Nat King Cold. But I do understand why she was offended,in one way she has a right to be upset….but in another I just don’t think she does….

  16. music maven

    July 18, 2009 at 7:14 am

    Technically, Glenn Miller first recorded “At Last” in 1941. Etta was upset because the great Obama team who supposedly covers every detail, didn’t even know that she is still alive…yet the song (an veritable anthem) singularly identified by Etta James was used.

    It’s all smoke and mirrors, folks.

  17. Latina Clayton

    October 18, 2009 at 11:48 am

    yes Beyonce did give the movie some justice but no one should ever compare her to Ms. Etta James because she was the inivator of the songs that Beyonce should be privlage to even sing and that s all i have to say about that.

  18. Brit

    December 4, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    OMG etta rox the house, but beyonce is AWESOME. she is sweet, yet etta isn’t giving the credit beyonce deserves! 😦 GO BEYONCE

  19. etta fãs

    January 8, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    É bem claro e simples Etta esta com dor de cotovelo porque não foi chamada para cantar “”At last”” pela equipe de Obama e por que Beyoncé agora é o que “etta” ja foi e beyoncé é bem melhor que Etta
    Ela devia agradecer por Beyoncé existir porque é por causa de Beyoncé que varios fãs a viu homenagiar Etta e procuramos saber quem é Etta James porque nem se quer sabiamos que Etta ainda estava viva

    Etta agradeça por uma cantora como Beyoncé {que foi eleita a melhor cantora dos ultimos tempos e da década} cantar sua musica e te homenagiar


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