“Beyonce has the voice and she’s got the attitude,” declared the rap artist Akon at the Monday night premiere of Cadillac Records, a film about the rise of Chess Records and its recording artists in which Beyonce Knowles plays the blues singer Etta James.
Curiously, the venue selected for the premiere was the AMC Loews on East 19th Street, a relatively tiny theatre where celebrities like Adrien Brody, Mos Def, and P. Diddy had to walk the carpet practically elbow to elbow.
“I’m a big fan of Mos Def and Beyonce and the whole cast,” said P. Diddy. The entrepreneur and rap producer showed off a Gucci coat with a bulky fur neckline, but was not the sole rap artist making a flashy entrance. Ms. Knowles’ (alleged!) husband Jay-Z arrived in a well-fitted suit and the big nerd-chic glasses that have become ubiquitous in the pages of fashion magazines. And Mos Def was questioned about his choice of a flannel shirt and bow tie paired with a long coat and jeans.
Gabrielle Union, who plays Muddy Waters‘ (Jeffrey Wright) wife Geneva Wade, told the Daily Transom that despite not having a singing role she was intimidated working along Mr. Wright and the rest of the cast.
“Definitely the first time I walked into the trailer and there was Adrien [Brody] and Jeffrey [Wright], I was, ‘Ahhh!’” said Ms. Union. “I’ve actually been the wife of literally like 50 percent of the men in this film. Half of them I’ve already done the walk of love with, but Jeffrey, you really don’t want to disappoint him because he’s just incredible.”
Also among the cast was British actor Eamonn Walker, cast as Howlin’ Wolf, who (unlike the rest of the cast members) did not grow up listening to blues records.
“I knew nothing about the blues really. I kind of heard it in the background, but I really had to do some heavy research for this film,” said Mr. Walker. “And yes, of course they all teased me a little, but, you know, sticks and stones may break my bones…”
Live with Regis and Kelly host Kelly Ripa arrived with her husband Mark Consuelos.
“This is Elizabeth and James,” said Ms. Ripa showing off her loosely-fitted black dress. “Love the Olsen twins, love those girls!”
Ms. Knowles and Mr. Brody were some of the last to arrive and were preceded by Ms. Knowles’ mother, costume designer Tina Knowles.
“This is just such a part of history,” said Mrs. Knowles. “I kind of twisted Beyonce’s arm a bit to do this one because she just really didn’t have the time, but I am so excited that she was part of this.”
Mrs. Knowles was interrupted by screams for her daughter, who had just walked in, and responded by pointing both arms in Beyonce’s direction and exclaiming, “And here is Sasha Fierce!” (Ms. Knowles’s mother seemed to be plugging her daughter’s new album, I am…Sasha Fierce, named after her on-stage alter ego.)
Ms. Knowles, for her part chose not to speak, and instead twirled in her floor-length gown for the cameras.