Jazz Legend Etta James Passes On

Blues singer Etta James, 73, has lost her battle with leukemia. According to friend and manager Lupe De Leon, James, who was diagnose with the disease last year, passed away peacefully this morning at Riverside Community Hospital, surrounded by her husband and two sons.

Etta James was a gospel and jazz prodigy, whose career spanned some 50 years. She is best known for her hit single “At Last,” which resurfaced on the charts in 2009 (49 years after it was originally released) after singer Beyonce Knowles performed it for President Barack Obama and wife Michelle at their Inaugural Ball.

Before her leukemia diagnosis, James was a regular on the touring circuit and was known to put on a great show, despite her advanced age.

British singer Adele, who lists James and Aretha Franklin as her inspirations, told Billboard in a recent interview that “If you were to look up the word singer in the dictionary, you would see Etta’s name there.”

A tweet from the Grammys official twitter page, alludes to a tribute being planned for the singer at this year’s show.

The family has yet to release details about the funeral or possible public memorial.

R.I.P Miss Etta. You were an original.

Etta James Upset With Beyonce

Beyonce 2009 Spring Dereon Ad Campaign Singer Etta James is not happy. Upset that Beyonce was asked to sing her classic hit “At Last” on inauguration night, the singer lashed at over the weekend at both Beyonce and President Obama. While performing in concert, the singer was recorded saying the following: “You guys know your president, right? You know the one with the big ears? Wait a minute, he ain’t my president, he might be yours, he ain’t my president. You know that woman he had singing for him, singing my song — she’s going to get her ass whipped. The Great Beyonce. I can’t stand Beyonce. She has no business up there, singing up there on a big ol’ president day, singing my song that I’ve been singing forever.”
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InPhotos: Cadillac Records Movie Premiere

The Los Angeles premiere for the film Cadillac Records was held last night and the two Brown Sista stars of the movie were there to walk the red carpet. Beyonce Knowles and Gabrielle Union, who coincidentally share the same hairstylist, showed up for the event looking very coordinated, in basic black dresses. Beyonce, who stars as Etta James in the film, was accompanied by her mom Tina Knowles, while Gabrielle showed up with good friends and fellow actresses, Sanaa Lathan and Regina Hall. Gabrielle recently spoke about her long standing relationship with her co-star and who knew- the two have been good friends every since they were teenagers.
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Beyonce Packs On The Pounds For Movie Role

Beyonce has spoken extensively about the weight she had to gain to play jazz legend Etta James in the upcoming film Cadillac Records. However, the majority of movie stills that have been released from the film so far show a very svelte Beyonce draped in vintage 1950s dresses. With a bit of detective work however, I was able to find images of the singer playing Etta in her heavier and obviously drugged addicted days. In the stills on the next page, Beyonce is clearly shown depicting Etta at a not so hight point in her life. When Beyonce landed the role of the singer, Etta said she approved of the casting of Beyonce, but doubted the singer could pull off the grittier aspects of her life on the big screen.
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Beyonce To Play Etta James In New Movie

At Last Beyonce is heading back to the big screen and once again she will be singing. Sticking to what she obviously knows best, Bey will be playing the role of famed soul singer Etta James in the new movie, Cadillac Records. The Dreamgirls actress will join Adrien Brody, Jeffrey Wright and Cedric the Entertainer in the 1950s-set film, reports AOL.com. Actor Matt Dillon has been replaced by Oscar-winning Brody in the role of Leonard Chess, the founder of legendary blues label Chess Records, after scheduling conflicts forced him to pull out of the project. Filming is due to take place later this year (08) in New Jersey and Mississippi.
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