First, let's talk about one of the most unlikely celebrity feuds in all of music, the one that exploded this week between legendary jazz singer Etta James and the woman who played Etta in Cadillac Records, Beyonce. Now, we're not sure if Etta was displeased with Beyonce's portrayal of her in that film, but we are sure that she was unhappy with Beyonce's performance of the classic Etta song "At Last" at Barack Obama's inauguration last month. Etta made her displeasure abundantly clear last Wednesday, when--before performing "At Last" at Seattle's Paramount Theater--she launched into a shocking anti-Beyonce tirade.
So Ticketmaster may have (inadvertently or not) infuriated thousands of Bruce buffs, but tween star Miley Cyrus managed to infuriate the entire Asian race this week, when photos of her and her underwear-model boyfriend Justin Gaston--in which they were supposedly rudely ridiculing Asians by making goofy slant-eyed faces--popped up online. Various advocacy groups, including the Organization Of Chinese Americans, demanded an apology...but when Miley finally responded to the post-photo fallout, she didn't seem really all that apologetic at all. Instead, Miley went on the defensive, claiming she was not being racist whatsoever and that the pics were taken out of context and misunderstood.
Hmmm. We wonder if the Asian-American community will add this transgression to their list of seven things they hate about Miley...Joaquin Phoenix probably angered the nation's hip-hop community, and the Hollywood community, by confirming that he has given up acting to concentrate on a rap career. No, not a country or rock career--that would at least make sense, given his Oscar-nominated role in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk The Line--but a RAP career, people. A viral video of a bearded, scruffy Joaquin's debut rap performance at a Vegas nightclub has not impressed most of those unlucky enough to have seen it (he falls off the stage, for one thing). And it's been a subject of ongoing debate in the blogosphere whether this new MC persona is actually just an elaborate ruse, some sort of promotion for an upcoming Joaquin film in which he plays an aspiring rapper.
But Joaquin remains undeterred, still plans to pursue his hip-hop dream, and insists this is all legit.
"There's not a hoax," Joaquin told the press. "Might I be ridiculous? Might my career in music be laughable? Yeah, that's possible, but that's certainly not my intention."
Joaquin--whose transition from acting to music is being covered in a documentary (or maybe a mockumentary, depending on whether or not you believe Joaquin's story) shot by Casey Affleck, Ben's younger brother--also claimed that many of the clubbers who witnessed his Vegas performance firsthand were impressed by what they saw. "My experience afterward was I had a lot of dudes come up and say, 'We really respect you for doing it, putting yourself out there, and going with it.' Because I think true hip-hop heads know that it's hard, it's going to be a hard transition, and people are going to be lining up just to make fun of me."
Well, watch this and then get in line, everybody:
And on that sad note, thus concludes another week in music news. Come back next Friday for more headspinning headlines (including plenty of Grammy reportage), and until then--goodnight, and good music.
THIS WEEK'S TOP 1O STORIES:
1) Lux Interior Goes Exterior - The Cramps frontman dies at age 62.
2) The Boss Is Cross - Bruce Springsteen feuds with Ticketmaster.
3) Miley's Slanted Story - Cyrus is accused of making fun of Asians' eyes.
4) Ring The Alarm! - Etta James is furious with Beyonce.
5) Twitter-Patter Of Little Feet - Erykah Badu twitters to the world as her baby is being born.
6) Joaquin Phoenix Walks The Line Of Sanity - He's giving up acting to become...a rapper???
7) Britney To Tour With Her Tykes? - K-Fed isn't quite sure if Sean Preston and Jayden James should join their mom on the road.
8) Black Eyed Pea's Brother Murdered - apl.de.ap's sibling is tragically gunned down in the Philippines.
9) Get Rich Or Get Tossed Out Of Court Trying - An ex-girlfriend's $50 million lawsuit against 50 Cent is rejected by a judge.
10) Tommy Lee, Air Head - The Motley man's helicopter joyride is ruined by sky cops.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Etta James