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Remember a few months ago when Etta James had some nice things to say about Beyoncé's portrayal of her in "Cadillac Records"? Well, apparently the good vibes have dissipated. James unleashed a verbal beat-down on B last week during a concert in which she, believe it or not, threatened to whip the "Single Ladies" singer's butt.
Though she wasn't the first singer to perform it, the 71-year-old James has made the smoldering ballad "At Last" her signature song since it became a hit for her in 1961. Beyoncé sang for President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama's first dance at the Neighborhood Ball two weeks ago. For some reason, that seems to have angered James, who put Beyoncé, and the president, for that matter, on blast during a show at Seattle's Paramount Theatre on January 28.
During the gig, she criticized the singer's performance at the inauguration. "You guys know your president, right? You know the one with the big ears?" began her rant, a recording of which was obtained by TMZ. "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-- whipped.
"The great Beyoncé," James went on. "Like I said, she ain't mine. ... 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 review of the show in the Seattle Times noted James' reputation as a bawdy performer, adding that she made "lewd facial and hand gestures" during her opening song, "Come to Mama."
Beyoncé won critical acclaim for portraying James in "Cadillac Records," and has performed "At Last" several times since the movie was released, including in front of James, who has not made this kind of public fuss over it previously. A spokesperson for Beyoncé could not be reached for comment at press time. Beyoncé got in hot water with another icon last year at the Grammys, when soul legend Aretha Franklin ripped into B for introducing Tina Turner as "the queen," a title Franklin has claimed as her own.