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. bj, Texas

    Memo to Etta Jones - Prepare yourself to get the full evil wrath of the hollywood elite, the obama loving media, and all the other ignorant americans that shamelessly vote in this president. After they are all done with you your name and career will be equal to sewer dung. God bless you.

    February 5, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Oh brother...

    February 5, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  3. just me!

    LOL! Love it! Now I don't agree with the attacks against Obama's physical appearance, but I definitely don't mind the remark towards the overrated "singer"!

    February 5, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  4. DJW

    dahhhh Etta I guess the movie was right about you huh??? Show some respect – do you really want to be remembered like this.

    Goes to show you these old heads need to sit down even in politics.

    February 5, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  5. Ken

    Etta who?

    February 5, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  6. mik

    she's just hatin'

    February 5, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  7. This is Not News

    ... errr... who is Etta James again?

    This is not news – who cares what she thinks of the POTUS or Beyonce?

    February 5, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  8. mike

    She's just ole and senile! Etta – let the youth have their time...

    February 5, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  9. HFT in Texas

    I forgot to include: Etta, the President is all of ours President whether you accept it or not. What's up with you lady?

    February 5, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  10. tag...

    YOU GO ETTA.......WHIP BOTH THEIR BEHINDS.....YOU ARE THE COOL LADY.....

    February 5, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  11. BM

    Etta, what does it matter? Everyone knows you made the song what it is. You will get your royalties. You should be ashame of yourself. Move over and let the young people do their thing. You had your day. She had to get the rights to sing it, right? Maybe, the pres. din't think you were up to balling all night long. She did do the song well. Get over it! It's always going to be someone better than you! Maybe you will be around for the next ignauguaration(lol)

    February 5, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  12. Joyce

    Etta sings the song better, but Beyonce did it justice. Sit down Miss James and be thankful that you are finally back in the limelight. Obama is MY President all day every day.

    February 5, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  13. ricelord

    whoa!

    February 5, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  14. Fletch

    Wait. I thought Etta James died. She's 450,000 years old – who does she think she can beat up?

    February 5, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  15. Kenny Miller

    lol

    February 5, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  16. WHINE WHNE WHINE!!!

    I love this story. I'm glad that Etta James had the courage to speak her mind instead of offering false praise of Obama and Beyonce.

    Rock on Etta!!!!

    February 5, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  17. Carl from MI

    Can you say 'ungrateful'?

    She has the number one song in the land for one night... what a great honor it is that her song was sung at EVERY ball that night for the Presidential Dance... and she has a freakin' attitude about it because someone else sang it?

    It there no limit to the EGO of some celebrities? What a joke!!

    February 5, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    first of all, "At Last" was NOT written by Etta James-therefore, it is NOT her song technically. Yes, Etta covered it, but that's it. As much as I love and have always enjoyed Etta, I'm a bit disappointed that she was quoted as saying those disparaging remarks towards Beyonce as well as President Obama. If SHE had been asked to perform it at the ball, would Barack THEN be her president? How petty. I think Beyonce did a fine job-I would have preferred Etta to have been asked to sing it, but that didn't happen. Other artists were gracious enough to let others cover their material at the concert, it's a shame that the same courtesy was not extended toward Beyonce-esp. since Etta did not even write the song. This saddens me that just when we think we've come so far, something so childish like this, rears its ugly head. Shame on you Etta. You should know better.

    February 5, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  19. dr.mimi de la cruz

    WHATS NEW ???

    ANOTHER IDIOT SINGS THE BLUES.

    YOU'D THINK WHEN PEOPLE ARE THAT OLD,

    THEY WOULD KNOW BETTER THAN TO RUN

    THEIR IGNORANT, ARROGANT MOUTH OFF.

    February 5, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  20. Steve

    Nope. She's not suffering from age-related demetia, Not a bit.

    February 5, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  21. TjayeInLA

    Bitter old broads make great blues singers.

    February 5, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  22. July

    Burp!

    February 5, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  23. Jay

    Like the black eyed peas says "Where's the love!!"

    February 5, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  24. callofdutyawesomeguy

    flip flopping just like a democrat

    February 5, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  25. Peggy

    The headline to this is a little pathetic. Etta James is her name, not "Singer." And she's certainly more legendary than Beyonce.

    February 5, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
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