As has become par for the course when a legendary musician dies in the 2010s, musicians took to social media to proclaim their grief over Etta James’ passing from leukemia complications earlier today. Everyone from Snoop Dogg to JoJo to (appropriately) Flo Rida paid their respects, but a special shoutout was given by an artist with a personal connection to Etta—Blue Ivy’s momma, Beyoncé Knowles, who played James in the film Cadillac Records and memorably covered her “At Last” at the President’s inaugural ball in 2009. Bey took to her blog to write of her predecessor:
This is a huge loss. Etta James was one of the greatest vocalists of our time. I am so fortunate to have met such a queen. Her musical contributions will last a lifetime. Playing Etta James taught me so much about myself, and singing her music inspired me to be a stronger artist. When she effortlessly opened her mouth, you could hear her pain and triumph. Her deeply emotional way of delivering a song told her story with no filter. She was fearless, and had guts. She will be missed.
Now, there was some unpleasantness between the two divas in Etta’s final years—James was reported as saying that she couldn’t stand Beyoncé, and even threatened her with an ass-whooping, though she later claimed it was a joke—but of course, Beyoncé was far too classy to mention the acrimony in her mini-eulogy. Anyway, Etta may have the last laugh, courtesy of Jay Caspian Kang’s 2012 Diva Power Rankings, where he claims that the diva-rating “committee” was formed under the precepts of all sharing “two common beliefs: Everyone in the Committee (a) loves Etta James and (b) hates Beyoncé.” We can’t necessarily agree with the latter, but today, we’ll let it slide.