Jamestta Hawkins was born January 25, 1938 in Los Angeles, California. Jamesetta who would later change her name to be called “Etta James” gained fame in the mid 1950’s by recording and releasing songs such as “I’d Rather Go Blind” and the classic love ballet “At Last“. Etta suffered many personal trials and tribulations throughout not only her music career but her personal life as well. Growing up with a prostitute for a mother and an absentee father she never knew, (speculations point to Rudolf ” Minnesota Fats” Wanderone as her father), she battled drug addiction and alcoholism. James was an unmatched talent, cross over into almost every aspect of the music industry, from blues to jazz her raspy voice can be compared to no other. Beyonce portrayed the late singer in the film Cadillac Records, a role that left James bitter and angry with the young singer especially when it was Knowles that was invited to sing “At Last” for the President and First Lady’s first dance. Her outrageous comments and explicit language out Etta in the limelight once again surrounded by negativity.
James was diagnosed with leukemia In January 2011 and succumbed to the disease one year later just five days before her seventh-fourth birthday. May she rest in peace and finally be free from all that she has endured. Her legend will forever live on through her music.