February 5th, 2009
10:44 PM ET
6 years ago

Singer disses Obama, Beyonce

Beyonce and James together at the Cadillac Records premiere.
Beyonce and James together at the Cadillac Records premiere.

(CNN) - The entertainment world may be in a swoon over Barack Obama, but one legendary soul singer is fuming at the new president and the pop star who serenaded the first couple on inauguration night.

Etta James, famous for her rendition of the song “At Last,” is apparently miffed that pop star Beyonce was tapped to perform the ballad as the president and first lady slow-danced during the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball on January 20.

“You guys know your president, right?” the singer asked an audience in Canada last week, according to audio posted on TMZ.com. “You know the one with big ears? Yeah, wait a minute. He ain’t my president.”

She then went after Beyonce: “That woman singing for him, singing my song? She’s gonna get her ass whipped.”

James added that she “can’t stand Beyonce” and that the starlet “has no business up there singing, singing up there on a big old President day, singing my song that I been singing forever.”

But is James flip-flopping on Beyonce? She did not raise an objection when the singer portrayed her in the film “Cadillac Records” - and just recently, James’s son told a New York paper that his mother was moved by the inauguration night performance.


Filed under: Extra • President Obama
soundoff (681 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Well, with an attitude and behavior like that, it's no wonder he had someone else sing it for him.

    February 5, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  2. Brian

    If he ain't your president, this ain't your country. Bye!

    February 5, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  3. Allison

    What a hateful cow! and if she is an if she wants to be an American, he IS her president.

    February 5, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  4. California Gold

    There is only one Etta James and "At Last" is HER song. Beyonce did a respectable job, but she is no Etta James.

    February 5, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  5. Steve, Chelsea, MI

    Wait.. she asked an audience in Canada if they knew their president... and then said something about our president? Sounds like alzheimer's.

    February 5, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  6. Retired Army in San Antonio

    WOW!!!

    And here I was, thinking Etta was dead.

    Guess there's life in them old bones, yet!

    ++ Former Etta James fan ++

    February 5, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. We Are The One

    anything to get attention!....these rats are all crawling out of their maggot infested hideouts.

    these deucebags just want to ride on the Obama gravy train!

    dissing on the president is sure to get attention on CNN!

    way to go CNN. keep reporting non-issues!!!!!

    February 5, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  8. Paizley

    I can see how Etta may feel slighted but to say Beyonce is going to get her A$$ whooped is a bit childish and ghetto. Etta is better than that.

    February 5, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  9. BB

    She's jealous of the youth and beauty. Angry old hypocrit.

    February 5, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. Andy

    Wow.... just wow. "He ain't my president" over picking Beyonce to sing a song. There aren't even words...

    February 5, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. Kyle

    “You guys know your president, right?” the singer asked an audience in Canada last week

    Well since Obama isn't the president of Canada I'm sure the crowd responded: "No."

    I don't recall Prime Minister Harper having big ears either...

    February 5, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  12. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    Life isn't always fair, Etta.

    You might have lost alot of fans with this story.

    February 5, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  13. We Are The One

    TMZ is now a credible news source for CNN!

    who is next – "FALSENEWS"!

    i can't wait!!!

    February 5, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  14. fedup

    Hypocrite!!!!!!

    February 5, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  15. Mark

    Who?

    February 5, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  16. Cathy

    Old Etta James....Out with the OLD in with the NEW....hahaha

    February 5, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  17. Griff

    Cat-Fights, help no one. Whatever their Sex...

    February 5, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  18. Robin

    Why is a celebrity tantrum on the political ticker? Oh that's right, Obama is a celebrity.

    February 5, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  19. Erik

    lol Well LIBERALS should be Happy about this right???

    I mean their the ones who encouraged Anti-American remarks, no?

    February 5, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  20. Gary

    Etta James? So she thinks she's still relevant or something?

    February 5, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  21. Shaun

    Etta James....who.....exactly!!

    February 5, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  22. rs nc

    Uh oh – somebody must have forgotten to take their medication today...

    February 5, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  23. MAD

    Ms. James was probably drunk when she talked to the audience, which probably means that's when she said what she was really thinking.

    I know it's tough being the old girl in a world of young girls but as we age we need to learn how to be gracious and stay above the fray. She could have behaved like a "Grand Dame" but instead she just sounds like a "Bitter Old Broad."

    February 5, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  24. HoneyMoonOver

    Huh, and they did not pick her to sing, wonder why?

    February 5, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  25. Topcat16

    This was a non-story on MSN and it is here too...I swear CNN, you're getting more like FOX everyday. What happened to 'reporting' actual news?

    February 5, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
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