Beyonce’s Best-Acting Performance
In the movie Cadillac Records, Beyoncé set the bar high for herself and other actresses in the industry. The biographical drama from 2008 is about a music executive, Leonard Chess, and his responsibility to put some of the biggest names in Blues music on the map. Chess goes on a mission to make a name for himself in the music industry as he signs talented singers to his label.
The movie is based on the true story of how the roster of his company Chess Records was founded. As it started to gain popularity, Chess Records added more big names to its roster. These include Muddy Waters, Lil Walter, Howlin’ Wolf, and Chuck Berry. Even with a successful and impressive lineup of stars, the label was still missing a feminine touch. Etta James, played by Beyoncé in Cadillac Records, was the it-girl Chess was looking for.
Etta James was a biracial black woman that was born into poverty during the Jim Crow era. She struggled with her career as a singer. Beyoncé embodied James’ singing experience and even carried the complex trauma of her youth from the very beginning.
Getting Into the Role
As a perfectionist, Beyoncé was devoted to playing the part of Etta James to the best of her ability. In Cadillac Records, she had to let herself fall apart, which is something people aren’t familiar with when it comes to the star.
Her character was complicated, messy, visibly struggled with past pain and substance abuse. Beyoncé was able to bring her story to life.
Fans saw Beyoncé’s naked vulnerability in her 2013 hit — “Heaven,” which is about her loved ones who had passed away, along with “Jealous,” which detailed her own relationship struggles with Jay-Z. Her album, Lemonade soon followed that’s also where she let us in.