“Dat’s wut da blues iz aint it? Hol lotta fuckin!”

Darnell Martin’s got her mojo working right with Cadillac Records. Telling America’s history of pop music, created predominately by Africans, the film shows the theft and exploitation of artists like Muddy Waters and Etta James by European record execs like Leonard Chess, who offer them Cadillacs and fame in exchange for publishing rights, song royalties…their souls! Showbiz is a new plantation for African Americans with talent, and jazz, rock & roll, hip hop, and even contemporary gospel all have sprinklings of blues; something intensely American, more so deeply African.

President Obama had no right to have Beyoncé messing with a genre she’s too small for. Simply put, Beyoncé ain’t cut right for the blues; she’s not R&B either. Contemporary R&B, Hip hop and pop is one thing, and blues, soul and traditional R&B is something else altogether. What makes an Etta James so distinct from popular female singers of today, is the era and time in which she recorded those songs. She was directly influenced by not simply the bigotry of her environment and travesty of her personal life, but had so much other great talent within her genre to fuel off of, while the anguished tone of her voice remains unmatched.

All performances by the lead cast are solid, but if it weren’t for the fact that Beyoncé Knowles co-executive produced the film, I’d recommend it for educational viewing in schools and score it a bit higher.

Score: 2 1/2 of 4 stars

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