Hollywood is stepping up and out to give Juneteeth the recognition it rightfully deserves, and Kelly Clarkson is no exception. The talk show host and first American Idol winner chose wisely when picking the song she wanted to perform on June 19th during her much beloved ‘Kellyoke’ segment, paying homage to one of the greatest Black artists of all time.
— The Kelly Clarkson Show (@KellyClarksonTV) June 19, 2020
While many know Etta James best for her rendition of ‘At Last’, her powerful ballad ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ is a blues classic, and a perfect song for Kelly’s range and talents. Over the years, it’s been covered by the likes of B.B. King, Rod Stewart, and Beyonce, so Kelly is indeed in good company. Wearing no makeup and belting out from her living room, Kelly elevated the song to the heavens as only she could, with her very moving tribute.
Kelly has been carrying on the ‘Kellyoke’ segment of her daytime talk show, The Kelly Clarkson Show, since going into isolation during the coronavirus pandemic. Prior to covering Etta James’ beautiful tune, she performed Mariah Carey‘s beloved track “Vanishing” on March 19. In the days before that stunning performance, Kelly also gave a gorgeous rendition of Selena Gomez‘s single “Lose You To Love Me.”
But this particular ‘Kellyoke’ had a lot more weight than usual. Kelly’s soulful cover of the tune comes in the weeks after she filed for divorce from her husband of nearly seven years, Brandon Blackstock. The two filed the official paperwork in a Los Angeles court on June 4, days after Kelly put the couple’s $10 million LA house on the market. For today, at least, Kelly focused her emotions into the song, offering a rendition fans of the American Idol winner and James could be proud of.
Etta James’ gorgeous ballad was released in 1968, near the end of the initial Civil Rights movement. The song was originally recorded in 1967, capturing the poetic, painful lyrics through the singer’s powerful voice. In her time, Etta James won three Grammy Awards, including Hall of Fame honors for her distinct talent and contribution to music. She passed away at the age of 73 in January 2012.Kelly’s rendition comes on June 19, known as Juneteenth. The holiday commemorates the day slavery was finally abolished in the United States, after Texas became the last state to make the change. In the time since, however, Black men and women have still been the subjects of police brutality and inequality across the country. The current Black Lives Matter movement is now stronger than ever, working towards a change toward complete reformation.