February 6th, 2009
02:00 PM ET
4 years ago

James: Obama, Beyonce slams were just jokes

Etta James said she was only trying to be funny when she insulted President Barack Obama and singer Beyonce.
Etta James said she was only trying to be funny when she insulted President Barack Obama and singer Beyonce.

(CNN) – Legendary singer Etta James said she was only trying to be funny when she said Beyonce is “gonna get her ass whupped” and that President Obama has “big ears.”

James, who first made the comments at a concert in Seattle last week, told the Daily News on Friday that she continued the insults because the crowd was laughing. She said that her jokes were “not from a vicious place.”

"I didn't really mean anything," James told the Daily News. "Even as a little child, I've always had that comedian kind of attitude. That's probably what went into it."

James added that she was "feeling left out of something that was basically mine, that I had done every time you look around."

The legendary singer told the paper that she’s always thought Obama was “handsome,” but said that because of her joke he “might not ever like me in life.”

But Obama has “other stuff [to worry about] besides Etta James,” she said.

James, famous for the song “At Last,” did admit she was annoyed that Beyonce was chosen to perform the song as the first couple danced together on Inauguration night. James, when asked if she could have done better, said “I think so. That’s a shame to say that.”


Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. WANDA IN SOUTH CAROLINA

    THIS WAS ABOUT MS. JAMES APOLOGIZING. HOW DID IT GET TO OBAMA BASHING? YOU SAID IT YOURSELF, IN TWO WEEKS HE IS THE WORST PRESIDENT IN HISTORY. WHAT CAN YOU GET DONE IN TWO WEEKS TO HELP SOMETHING THAT CONTINUALLY SPIRALED OUT OF CONTROL FOR 8 YEARS? MS. JAMES WAS JOKING OKAY LET'S MOVE ON. FOR THOSE WHO HATE, WE LET BUSH PROVE HIMSELF FOR 8 YEARS, GIVE PRESIDENT OBAMA MORE THAN 2 WEEKS!

    February 6, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. Open Your 3rd Eye

    I still don't understand why this is an issue. Of course she was joking. Cummon' people.

    February 6, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  3. Adelita

    Chuck,

    How many people here would have the chutzpah to take responsibility for their words if they didn't have the anonymity offered here? There are those here who misspell words like "afraid" and still want us to take their opinions seriously – good luck with that. Cowardice and ignorance isn't the exclusive province of either party.

    February 6, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. Carl

    I knew it had to have been taken out of context. I had never heard of James before, but the comments just seemed odd. I bet it was pretty funny in person and everybody in the room was in on the joke and having a good time.

    February 6, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  5. CO

    Ms. James is changing her tone after bad press. Several of these older divas appear to have big egos and resentment toward younger singers such as Beyonce. Instead of feeling threatened, they should seek to uplift the younger singers, many of whom were inspired by them in the first place.

    February 6, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. Cheri NW

    Yeah Right!

    February 6, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  7. Marge

    Afer two weeks a baby has not even gotten his sleeping habits. Unfortuntely, people and their liberated ideas only jump on board when the going is good. This guy went for that messed up office knowing he would give it his all and all with mistakes. Well no one else could get anything done in eight years and Bush did not get us in this mess by himself. The senators and representatives were all in on the party, getting no where fast! At least he is working with and agreeing with others to try and get this country back on some sort of track. Well for Ms. James, her audience is long gone and too bad she feels that she should be on the party bus when some people do not even know who she is. What a black eye now that her name is somewhat back in!!

    February 6, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  8. D.Kimbro OHIO

    This old lady must not know her story was told in Cadillac Records. What was she high on Gin, or cocaine?? I think should have been happy someone wanted to hear her song. I am so sick of all of these has beens trying to stay in the public eye. How's your father doing??

    February 6, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  9. D.Kimbro OHIO

    I was just joking about your father.

    February 6, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. This is CHANGE

    Ooops...it was just an honest mistake. Spoken like a true BO supporter...or CHANGE she couldnt live without....???

    February 6, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  11. Ray Ray

    After 8 years of Cartoonists dipictating President Bush in a monkey-esque caracature – I CERTAINLY hope Obama's ears qualify him for the same treatment!!

    Or do we still live in a country with double standards??

    February 6, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  12. Patriot

    Etta James must know that African Americans didn't take the statement of her (an elderly woman) too seriously.
    There's nothing to apologize about. It was a HARMLESS/comedic dig.

    February 6, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  13. jackie

    She's just sad that she can't compete with Beyonce! I think she's going senile. She changes her stories all the time. Just leave her alone, she'll eventually be on Rush's show.

    February 6, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  14. Felonious Monk

    Olen Johnson is right about Nathan Johnson being right about Howard Johnson being right!

    cmoore-you are a fool.
    How can any president be any worse for America than the union busting/worker back breaking/environmental destroying/good ole' boy system jerk we had for the last eight years. Where are your civil liberties? In the toilet. America must not only stand for something better in the world, we must stand up for something.

    February 6, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  15. Deb

    Can You JEALOUSY!!!!

    February 6, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  16. david goldman

    GLAD TO HEAR THAT ETTA HAS A NEW CAREER

    IN COMEDY. I WILL GO TO SEE HER COMEDY SHOW

    AS OFTEN AS I WENT TO SEE HER SING, 0 TIMES. BUT

    THE NEXT TIME BEYONCE COMES TO TOWN, I, FOR SURE

    I WILL BUY TICKETS. AS FOR THAT GUY WITH THE BIG EARS,

    THEY REALLY AREN'T BIG, THEY JUST STICK OUT, ENOUGH

    TO HEAR US WELL, HE IS THE LEADER OF THE WORLD.

    WE KNOW WHAT ETTA IS & ETTA KNOWS WHAT ETTA IS., YAK.

    February 6, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  17. Ms. Johnson, Pearland,Texas

    It amazes me how the republicans turn everything into a bashing of President Obama. I cannot understand this hatefulness. The claim is, it has nothing to do with his race, what is it about prey tell???????

    February 6, 2009 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
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