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Special to the NNPA from the St. Louis American
Published: 04 February 2009

(NNPA) - Soon after her comments about Beyonce and President Barack Obama set the internet ablaze and made their way to mainstream entertainment news last week, Etta James has come forward to say it was all just a joke.
An audio tape of James slamming Beyonce for singing her signature song at the first Inaugural Ball, and ridiculing Barack Obama for allowing it to happen, were not meant to be taken seriously, according to James.
''I'm a comedian besides a singer,'' she explained in a telephone interview with California's Press Enterprise from her home on Thursday morning. ''I wasn't doing it to be hateful.''
From ''The View'' to ''Access Hollywood'' to CNN, the sound of James disowning the president and threatening to ''whip Beyonce's a**'' blanketed television news outlets after TMZ.com first posted the comments from James' Jan. 28 show at Seattle's Paramount Theatre.
Before performing the song ''At Last,'' which has been Etta's signature song since it became a hit for her in 1961, she told the crowd: ''You guys know your president, right? You know the one with the big ears?'' began her rant. ''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.''
James made similar anti-Beyonce remarks during a gig in Coquitlam, British Columbia on Jan. 31. She told the Press Enterprise that her comments were intended to be taken as, ''She's up here singing my song, now what am I gonna do?''
The negative comments seemed to have come out of nowhere as James had nothing but admiration for Beyonce a year ago when it was first reported that she would play her in the film ''Cadillac Records.''

Information from eurweb.com contributed to this report.

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