Noirwomannews’s Weblog

February 5, 2009

Singer Etta James unhappy with Beyonce!

Filed under: Beyonce,Features/ Celebrity,News,Politics,women — noirwomannews @ 11:23 pm
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Beyonce Knowles is by far the most applauded female singer today, but most would understand why legendary singer Etta James was upset that Knowles performed a rendition of her most popular song “At Last for the historical dance of President and Mrs. Obama during the Inauguration’s Neighborhood Ball.

Etta James 71 is an icon and history maker who endured levels of sacrifice that a young artist like Knowles could never even began to understand. It is a natural understanding that James would expect a certain level of respect as the woman responsible for a song which has stood the test of time through generations as a popular love song and in some case wedding anthem. This could have been avoided if someone either in the planning department or from Knowles management reached out to James and informed her that her song would serenade the first couple.

“At Last” was obviously a song with great sentiment to the first couple and my guest is that it was the original rendition that attracted them to the song and not the recent re-make performed by Knowles which was well executed according to her talent and personal interpretation of the ballad. However the original version of the song still delivers from a depth a young artist could have never achieved, this has nothing to do with talent, its about life experiences from an era that no longer exist, and life experiences of a woman living through that era beginning in the 50’s and delivering a beautiful song from her own pains, joys and definitions.

Knowles also will become a historical woman having paved a way through her numerous success, but that one built on the song “At Last” belonged to James and it is unfortunate that she was not allowed to perform the song for the first couple. Knowles could have performed as well, just one of her own songs and not that of an icon still around and able to sing her own song to the first couple.

In all fairness this was probably an over site where the song was selected and because Knowles is so recognized as one of today’s most popular artist it was she that was asked to perform for the first couple and James may not even have been thought of because she has been out of the public light for sometime. Even with this said industry persons such as in the Knowles camp were well aware that Knowles just portrayed James in a movie which she received pretty good reviews, and the role played would not have existed for her acting star to shine without James having created a life story to have such historical value today.

As for James she owns the song in talent even though she does not have official ownership as a songwriter, which technically her permission was never needed, but when it comes to history there is a certain amount of responsibility, even rappers reach out to artist seeking personal permission before sampling certain songs of legendary singers, their rap and hip hop music recordings. As this is black history month this is a good time to say it and hopefully artist will respect those that came before them in this industry enough to consider the work, the journey of that artist and find an amicable way to blend your talents with someone else’s ownership of personal brand.


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