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Why did the Grammys replace Ledisi with Beyonce?

2015-02-09 13:57:57

Ledisi and Beyonce
Soul singers' Ledisi (l) and Beyonce

Beyonce dazzled millions with her magic at this year's Grammy Awards. The pop megastar performed with John Legend and rapper Common, who were both nominated for their collaboration of the Golden Globe-winning song, "Glory."

Mrs. Carter reached way, wayback into her church roots and sang "Precious Lord, Take My hand," a song that, along with "Glory," was featured in the critically-acclaimed film, Selma.

"Precious Lord, Take My hand" was made famous when the incomparable Mahalia Jackson released it on her Bless the House album back in 1956. The song, which was penned by gospel legend Thomas Dorsey, is said to have been Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s favorite hymn. While the lyrics of the song are common to most churchgoers, Hollywood has given the song new life. And now, the tune is sure to soar into another realm of fame once Beyoncé belts it out on the stage at the Grammys.

In Selma, Mahalia Jackson was depicted by soul singer Ledisi. The character sang "Precious Lord, Take My hand" when she received a phone call from her friend, Dr. King in the middle of the night. In addition to performing the song in the film, Ledisi treated an audience to her cover of the classic at Oprah's Legends event during the MLK weekend, leaving everyone in attendance speechless.

But Ledisi, who was actually nominated for a Grammy this year for her R&B performance of "Like That" was not on the stage with Common, who also starred in the civil rights film, since Beyoncé was asked to perform the Jackson song instead.

When asked about his performance at the Grammys (before the show), Common had this to say about Beyoncé taking the stage with him and John Legend:

"We do have an incredible introduction to our performance. A segue into our song "Glory," as a tribute to Selma, being done by the great Beyoncé . That's one of the greatest talents you can have, helping us segue into it. To co-create a performance with someone like her. It's good."

But while Common thinks this is a "good" thing, others believe that asking Beyoncé to sing the hymn is a snub to Ledisi. Fans of Ledisi took to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction with the producers of the Grammys. They feel that Ledisi should have beee the one on the stage opening up for Common and Legend, since she's the one who performed the song in the famed film.

One man tweeted that it made no sense to "snub Ledisi," who is actually a Grammy nominee this year. Another person wrote on their Facebook page that Ledisi should be "insulted that Beyoncé was asked to sing the hymn instead of her."

Columnist Veronica Wells wrote an op/ed on Madamenoire.com, taking the Grammys to task for not inviting Ledisi to sing the famous hymn. She wrote that she thinks Beyoncé was picked because the pop star's "light skin and straight hair" makes her more palatable to American fans than brown-skinned, lock-haired Ledisi.

While fans of Ledisi are upset, sources say that she has refrained from commenting on the matter. She is said to have enjoyed a full week of Grammy events in Los Angeles and is excited about her nomination.

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