by (@lizburrito)

11 Photos We Love From The Essence Music Festival

Essence Music Festival Best Photos

We were on the ground down at the Essence Music Festival this past weekend, and while we got some fantastic photos of some of VH1′s biggest stars, there were so many events that we couldn’t be everywhere at once. Here are a few more shots that we wanted to share from some amazing performances, red carpet arrivals and candid moments, mostly of our VH1 family but we also had to include some killer photos of some of our favorite musical divas in action. Check them all out below.

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[Photos: Getty Images]

by (@Lacezilla)

The Cast of Single Ladies Head Down To Essence Music Fest


Each year around Independence Day, the beautiful city of New Orleans hosts the heralded Essence Music Festival, featuring today’s top R and B, soul and gospel artists. For three days and three nights, NOLA is overrun by music fans and local residents who delight in EMF’s Superlounges, Empowerment panels, block party and evening concert series in the Superdome, and this year, VH1 is packing our bags to join in on the action.
That’s right! Starting tomorrow, we’ll be on the ground of EMF 2012 with the cast of Single LadiesDenise Vasi, LisaRaye McCoy, Charity Shea, DB Woodside, and Terrell Tilford – keeping you up to date as the stars take over the city and make their way through the weekend’s festivities. With artists like Mary J. Blige, Trey Songz, Aretha Franklin and Fantasia performing, you’ll definitely want to keep it locked with us as we keep you informed of the festival’s most juicy updates.
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Aretha Franklin Sings And Flirts Before Obama’s Labor Day Speech

Aretha Franklin has apparently rebounded completely from last December’s health scare (rumored to be pancreatic cancer) that led to surgery, not to mention death rumors on Twitter. Yesterday morning in Detroit she performed a four-song set—”I Came to Lift Him Up,” “Chain of Fools,” “Moody’s Mood For Love,” and “Respect”—prior to a Labor Day speech by President Barack Obama. Franklin riffed with the band and the crowd throughout, joking, during the last song, “Who do I respect? Well, let’s see. I sure like Denzel. He’s married though. I respect that.” She also shouted out Will Smith, local NAACP President Rev. Wendell Anthony, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and Rev. Jesse Jackson, and complemented Obama’s “fine, fine stroll,” remarking, “Nobody walks like the brothers.” Her reinvigorated performance is further indication that her hometown set at the DTE Energy Music Theater last month may not be her last headlining show.

Detroit’s WXYZ News has posted the whole performance on YouTube. Watch it below:
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Big Man R.I.P.: The Top Five Non-E Street Band Performances By The Late Clarence Clemons

The Big Man, Clarence Clemons, passed on Saturday due to complications from his recent stroke. He was 69. Saxophonist Clemons was perhaps the most essential member of the E Street Band, but his appearance on Lady Gaga’s latest single “Edge of Glory” is a potent reminder of the range of his body of work outside Bruce Springsteen collaborations. Here are his five best:

5. Ian Hunter, “All of the Good Ones Are Taken”
Clemons has a really great solo two-and-change minutes into the title track off Ian Hunter’s 1983 album All of the Good Ones Are Taken (though a stand-in appears in the music video). Without his performance, this Mott the Hoople member’s solo effort wouldn’t have had its single (especially since guitarist Mick Ronson only played on one song). This largely forgotten video used to get a lot of play on local and syndicated non-MTV video shows.
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VH1 Unplugged Sneak: Adele Does Aretha, Setlist Announced

Adele’s VH1 Unplugged premieres online Thu., March 3 at 7/6c and airs March 4 at 11/10c.

Earlier this month Adele stopped by a studio in Harlem to perform a six-song set for VH1 Unplugged. We have the song known as “The Contradictions Track,” which is “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman,” in advance of the show’s online premiere March 3. It may seem like a dangerous move for any singer to cover Aretha Franklin. Is there a more surefire way to feel inadequate?

But Adele smartly introduced the song by saying she wouldn’t attempt to reinterpret it. While we agree with her sentiment (and respect for Aretha), turns out no disclaimer was needed. Listening up-close to Adele’s mellow but true rendition, which required only minimal guitar and keys, it seemed to us there is no one Adele can’t cover with her powerful, nuanced singing.

After the jump is the rest of Adele’s Unplugged setlist (in no particular order), with notes:

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Beyoncé’s Beef with Aretha Gets Nasty

beyoncearetha.jpg

Uh oh, Aretha Franklin is p*ssed off at the Grammys and Beyoncé, and now B’s dad is getting into the mix and firing back at Re! Seriously, these divas love to duel, no matter their age. Here’s the deal: after Beyoncé introduced Tina Turner as “the queen” during the awards show, Aretha – known as the Queen of Soul – got her granny panties all up in a twist. “I am not sure of whose toes I may have stepped on or whose ego I may have bruised between the Grammy writers and Beyoncé,” she said. “However I dismissed it as a cheap shot for controversy.”

Um, okay. We have a feeling – if we may say so Ms. Franklin – that no one was trying to diss you, they were just trying to give Tina some much-deserved praise. Beyoncé’s dad agrees with us, and he weighed in yesterday. “Something this ridiculous – it’s childish, it’s unprofessional. And it’s a sad day when egos get bruised because somebody used the word king, queen, prince or princess.”

So much for R-E-S-P-EC-T! Guess you gotta give it to get it, these days. Whose side are you on – your girl B’s or your Queen’s?

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Blog Best-Of: Pimp’s Passing

pimp_c_links.jpg- R.I.P. Pimp C. [CONCRETELOOP]

- The financial failure of Jay-Z‘s American Gangster reportedly caused major layoffs at Def Jam. But you know he still got paid. Why? Because he’s gangster. [Sandra Rose]

- Kate Hudson is covered in white fur. Has she been rolling around with Owen Wilson again? [Jezebel]

- Sherri Shepherd said on The View that “nothing predates Jesus.” Hey, Sherri: that Bible you’re thumping contains a little section called the OLD TESTAMENT. Just a tip. [Dlisted]

- Speaking of, nothing predates Aretha Franklin in yellow chiffon. Well, nothing that matters anyway. [Crunk + Disorderly]

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Blog Best-Of: Christina’s Chiquitas

christina_ag_links.jpg- Christina Aguilera‘s nipples look like silver-dollar pancakes through her white dress. She isn’t rubbing her pregnancy in our faces – she’s practically lactating on us. [Seriously? OMG! WTF?]

- Barry Manilow pulls out of a planned appearance on The View because he finds Elisabeth Hasselbeck “dangerous and offensive.” C’mon, Barry – she’s sparing us from your music. How bad can she be? [Dlisted]

- Lindsay Lohan looks kinda like a hooker at rehab. Perhaps she’s preparing for the next phase of her career? [CityRag]

- Nas dances with wife Kelis at his 34th birthday party. There’s nothing smart-assed to say about this, so let’s just hate them for looking so happy, OK? [CONCRETELOOP]

- Aretha Franklin reveals that she’d like Halle Berry to play her in a biopic. What, are Eddie Murphy and his fat suit unavailable? [Crunk + Disorderly] [Image: Getty]

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