Obama Snubbed Etta James

It is January 20, 2009. Barack Obama has just been inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States. You turn on the TV to watch the Inaugural Ball. Barack and Michelle Obama step out onto the dance floor. The accompanying track to “At Last” starts playing and… Beyonce starts singing?


Was this really the right move?

Etta James is Synonymous with "At Last"

While she didn’t write the song, Etta James’ 1960 rendition of “At Last” was the biggest hit from her debut Argo Records album. It peaked #47 on the US Billboard 100 Chart and #2 on the US Billboard Hot R&B Sides.

Beyonce's Performance

Don’t get me wrong, I believe this performance is wonderful.

Etta James' Response

Etta James was understandably not happy, and while she had approved of Beyonce’s portrayal of her in Cadillac Records (2008), she had some words to say about Beyonce’s performance.


“Wait a minute, he ain’t my president. He might be yours; he ain’t my president. But I tell you that woman he had singing for him, singing my song — she’s going to get her a** whupped… I can’t stand Beyoncé. She has no business up there, singing up there on a big ol’ president day, gonna be singing my song that I’ve been singing forever.”


A Better Option

In my opinion, they should have had Etta James singing HER song! Or if they really wanted Beyonce, then Beyonce could have sung one of her original songs. Here’s some I think would go well with the dance (maybe played on classical instruments too)

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