February 6th, 2009
09:16 AM 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: President Obama
soundoff (336 Responses)
  1. rlp-politcal

    who cares my damm neighbor is hurting...

    February 6, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  2. Wheres Delaware?

    That skinny canuck made a fortune off this song in vegas.Shes still singing her way down the yellow brick road of greed.

    February 6, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  3. Matt CO

    WHY IS THIS IN THE POLITICAL TICKER?! no wonder the world doesnt take us seriously, bravo CNN

    February 6, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  4. Bean

    I like her already!

    February 6, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  5. Kiki Carlton

    Before I read this I would have bet a million dollars this women was dead. Her being alive is the most shocking part of this story.

    February 6, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  6. Anne

    This has nothing to do with Canada. Some people just say stupid things!

    February 6, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  7. Merri Moore

    I am completely on ETTA JAMES' side. "At Last" is Etta James' signature song. She has entertained millions of people all over the world. If I heard Beyonce say , "I would love to perform", once, I heard it one hundred times, every time she could get a mike slammed in her face,. Tne young singer hasn't paid her dues to deserve singing a song as the Pres & wife were having first dance. It should have been a legend, someone who deserves the honor. I don't blame Ms. James one little bit. That decision was a HUGE error in judgment on the part of all who had a part in PLANNING the festivities.
    While I'm dissing Beyonce, I'm going to bring out that she does not use any of her VAST Wealth for charity, in North America or in Africia. She has a tawdry sense of taste; as long as it's expensive, she'll have it, thank you very much.

    February 6, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  8. casual reader

    Beyonce is Hot! Etta who??

    February 6, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  9. Richelle

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    You idiots who keep saying that PRESIDENT Obama is not your president sound real stupid. If you live in the USA or if you are an American he is your president. And, has it occurred to any of you fools that PRESIDENT Obama is not the one who decided who was to perform what? This has nothing to do with PRESIDENT Obama, it's just a publicity stunt by Etta James and her entourage.

    February 6, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  10. Eileen Parker

    I think it's sad that Ms. Etta James was not asked to sing.
    What's even more sad is that James was so hurt that she ended up just sounding catty, drunk and made an actual threat to Beonce, who was probably a fan till now.

    What I still don't get though is how CNN has become so exploitive that it's now in the realm of POP CULTURE POLITICS.

    February 6, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  11. unity

    she's in that "age"

    February 6, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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