Singer Ledisi portrayed the role of gospel great Mahalia Jackson in the film Selma. Ledisi sings Jackson’s rendition of “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” in the film, and the song is also featured on the Selma soundtrack. When the Grammy Awards announced the show would pay tribute to the film, Ledisi was not asked by the awards’ committee to perform “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.” R&B superstar, Beyoncé, was asked to perform the song instead of Ledisi.
A lot of people were upset Ledisi was not asked to perform during the tribute, and so the singer addressed the song controversy on the Grammy red carpet on Sunday night. The singer said she understood why The Grammy Awards‘ committee chose Beyoncé to perform during the Selma tribute, although she was disappointed she was not asked to participate. “I got over it and I had to look at the positive and empower women. We have to empower each other. It’s a great thing,” Ledisi told the Associated Press. She added, “One day I’ll be on that Grammy stage. Every artist wants to be on the Grammys’ stage. That’s part of our career – to be there. So my time will come when it is time.”
Ledisi also mentioned that she is happy the film Selma is getting so much attention, and she was honored to portray Mahalia Jackson in the film. “I was able to portray an iconic gospel singer, the queen of gospel Mahalia Jackson. I sang the version she sang, take my hand as well with Thomas Dorsey writing it. Now we get to see Beyoncé sing a song that’s been living forever to her generation,” the singer said. “It’s great I’m part of a legacy of great women and the Queen of Soul [Aretha Franklin] sang it as well. So I’m a part of that,” Ledisi reiterated. John Legend and Common, who performed their song, “Glory,” at the Grammys, said Beyoncé asked them to join her onstage during her performance. “We were actually approached by Beyoncé. She wanted to do an intro to our performance and introduce us. You don’t really say no to Beyoncé if she asks to perform with you,” Legend told Entertainment Tonight. Beyoncé (“Drunk In Love”) and Ledisi (“Like This”) were both nominated for Best R&B Performance at the Grammy Awards; Beyoncé ended up winning the award.