February 5th, 2009
10:44 PM ET
5 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. TjayeInLA

    Arthur, that was Della Reese...we don't all look alike, ya know. lol

    February 5, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  2. Eric

    Etta James is alive??

    February 5, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  3. har har

    I wasn't aware that having sung the song in the past granted her sole access to future renditions of that song. Was it "her" song that she wrote? Or did she cover it from another songwriter? It's a pity she's showing such pettiness and jealousy now.

    February 5, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  4. Kris

    Go Etta Go....or just re-invent yourself.

    February 5, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  5. Jesse Callahan

    Like so many others of my generation, I was falsely led down a flowery path of hope. Let's hear it for Etta....she has it right when she says "he ain't my President".

    Jesse Callahan
    Brookeland, Texas

    February 5, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  6. Jack in Florida

    Pathetic................she's lucky she is still working.....Maybe should should become a Canadian resident and stay there.

    February 5, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  7. Brian

    Can we stop using the term flip flopping already? It brings up too many painful memories. People are allowed to change their minds.

    February 5, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  8. David

    Might be a good idea to listen to what the woman has to say. She seems to have a reasonable gripe and is speaking up about it. Its called freedom of speech for all you koolaid drinking team players. GO ETTA GO!

    February 5, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  9. Leslie Somerville

    Obama should have done it right and asked James to perform her song-old singers and actors are freaky about using their movie lines, songs and whatever.............you go Etta-slap Beyonce a big one!!!

    February 5, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  10. Ronnie Patrick

    Excuse me Etta James was not on Touch By An Angle.

    February 5, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  11. marg

    Sounds like Etta had a few too many preconcert cocktails!

    February 5, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  12. Sue

    Gotta agree with Marlo on this. Seems as if the new and flashy is valued over the tried and true. This isn't a comment about Beyonce, as I know nada about her...she may be amazing, but you gotta admit that we, as a nation, then to put our "tried and true" performers out with the trash.

    February 5, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  13. DeLois McEady

    I say don't heat the player heat the game.

    February 5, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  14. Philip

    She is getting up there in years..... I remember when my grandma stopped dating she started getting pretty crabby too.. I still love my grandma... She's getting old ... Old people get crabby....

    February 5, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  15. Jon

    Etta who?

    February 5, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  16. Kate

    Etta is right. Etta should have sang the song on Inauguration night.

    That was wrong!

    February 5, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  17. Cathy Vermont

    Della Reese is the woman on Touched by an Angel.

    February 5, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  18. cc

    omg that lady is just some old hag who is like jealous of beyonce cause shes young, beautiful, and can sing better!!!

    February 5, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  19. Ken Pittsburgh

    Etta:
    This is so out of place for some one like you Oh by the way Libbby
    You sound ike some one who needs to get a life and and needs to get over the fact thct the righ MAN!!!!! won with out outside help Frank only repub's drink the kool-aid

    February 5, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  20. hugh

    Etta, Life in the light is Over....Move On!

    February 5, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  21. Marcos Pacheco

    wow... Etta James is still alive? huh.

    February 5, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  22. Patrick

    Jealous...

    February 5, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  23. MBru

    To all you people who say President Obama is NOT your president, you are all idiots. He is EVERYONE's President. HE IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA whether you like it or not!!! So get over it!!

    February 5, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  24. renaldo

    Harry Warren wrote it along with Chattanooga Choo-Choo, I Only Have Eyes for You, Forty-Second Street and about a hundred other songs with Gershwin, Ella Fitzgerald and tons of other famous singers. Etta you are just one in a long line baby...they will be singing that song when Beyonce looks like you and Palin's granddaughter is running for President.

    February 5, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  25. Cathy

    Etta who? Seriously? I don't even know what that is. Someone mentioned the Celine should have sang that song. Yep – she did it the best!

    February 5, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28