Thursday, February 05, 2009

At Last Some Controversy Between ‘Newbie’ Beyonce & ‘The Legend’ Etta…Tha Artstorian Weighs In!!!

Etta James and Beyonce
Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/ Getty Images

Video: Beyonce Singing 'At Last To The Obamas'

Video: Recent Footage Of Etta Singing 'At Last' On Austin City Limits

Video: Etta Performing 'At Last' On The Tavis Smiley Show

MTV article that inspired this post:

Hey man what do you think of Etta James slamming Beyonce?
Was she right or is she crazy?

Tha Artstorian’s Reply:
I would say that Etta is crazy…Like A Fox!!!

There are a couple of ways to look at this…The supposed slam could be taken as a compliment or a slight or little of both…

On one hand Beyonce does not have a good track record of properly acknowledging her elders...

Calling Diva Tina Turner the ‘Queen of the Soul’ while Queen Aretha is living was disrespectful...It would be like calling Eric Clapton the King of the Blues and forgetting about the reign of B.B. King…

Also ‘At Last’ is the song that I will like so other many grateful fans/ admirers always identify the incomparable Etta James with...Although she didn't write it she made the song hers similar to the way the legendary Dinah Washington did 'What A Difference A Day Makes', inimitable jazz songbird Billie Holiday did with ‘Strange Fruit’ or the great Frank Sinatra with 'My Way'....

I think what angers Etta most is how forgetful or neglectful our society is of our great national treasures: our pioneering great black performers!!!

Etta with Beyonce's permission and expense whether she knows it or not (ha!) is using this to draw notice to her own legendary achievements...After all this is Negro History Week...Oops!!! I mean Black History Month!!!

Also like he did with Aretha at the Inaug, Obama could have invited Etta to sing her song at the ball instead of Beyonce (or have them in a compromise both serenade the First Couple at the first dance of the first ball that evening), this is what this slam is really all about…She wasn't invited to sing her own signature song at the Neighborhood Ball!!! That was a true slight on Obama's part!!! Ha!!!

The fact that Etta is around the same age as the white and privileged Rolling Stones and yet the Stones seem to sell out arenas worldwide with an ever expanding and younger audience is a crime!!!! We should honor the true pioneers and trailblazers that White music groups and performers like the Rolling Stones have drawn more than their fair share of inspiration and hefty royalty checks from!!!

The Rolling Stones sued Lil Wayne and forced him to omit the song ‘Fire’ from future releases of his Grammy© nominated as well as critically and commercially acclaimed ‘The Carter III’...What if Muddy Waters decided to sue the Rolling Stones for taking their namesake from one of his signature songs??? Lil Wayne is in my opinion the rightful heir to the legacy of Waters and not the Rolling Stones!!!

You must also understand that the powers that be loved intergenerational cat fights it's good for publicity and sales!!! Whether it's Beyonce vs. Queen Aretha & Legend Etta, Wynton Marsalis vs. Miles Davis, Joe Louis vs. Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson vs. Paul Robeson, Dizzy Gillespie vs. Louis Armstrong or even Marcus Garvey vs. Dr. DuBois the powers that be have always found a way to divide and conquer those who may even have a sliver of commonality in purpose!!!

With that say I leave you all with this important tip: when approaching such stories as this one, one must read for what wasn’t said and was inferred or referenced by what was stated…That’s how you find truth and understanding amidst chaos and confusion.

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