Beyonce Explains Her Powerful 'Take My Hand, Precious Lord' Performance

by Antoinette Bueno 1:20 PM PST, February 09, 2015
Photo: Beyonce

Despite all the controversy, Beyonce totally delivered with her amazing rendition of the gospel standard "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" at last night's GRAMMYs, and now we're getting a behind-the-scenes look of how the stunning performance came together.

In a stunning black-and-white video on her website on Monday, the 33-year-old superstar explains her surprisingly subtle performance.

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"The first time I heard 'Precious Lord,' I was a kid and my mother sang it to me," she recalls. "And my mother played me Mahalia Jackson's version and she sang the song with her eyes closed, and she was a vessel, and it was like, God speaking, using her body to speak and to heal."

The performance, part of a Selma tribute also featuring rapper Common and John Legend singing their song "Glory", also took on a more poignant message given the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri and the death of Eric Garner in New York.

"I felt like this is an opportunity to show the strength and the vulnerability of black men," Beyonce explains.

But the performance wasn't without a lot of controversy. Some people were disappointed that 42-year-old R&B singer Ledisi wasn't performing the song on Sunday, given that she sang the version that's in the Oscar-nominated Selma. Ledisi, who plays gospel singer Mahalia Jackson in the Martin Luther King Jr. biopic, responded to all the outrage on the GRAMMY red carpet and admitted to ET "had no clue" why Beyonce was performing it over her.

"What I will say and what I'm excited about is that I had the pleasure of playing an iconic figure in Selma, and the song, 'Take My Hand, Precious Lord,' it's been going on forever -- starting with the queen Mahalia [Jackson], the queen of soul Aretha Franklin," Ledisi told ET. “Then, I was able to portray and sing my version of the song, and now we have Beyonce. Her generation will now know the song, so I'm a part of history."

Legend also revealed to ET that it was actually Beyonce's idea to perform the song.

"We were actually approached by Beyonce," he clarified. "She wanted to do an intro to our performance and introduce us. You don't really say no to Beyonce if she asks to perform with you."

PHOTOS: All the Stars at the 2015 GRAMMYs

Check out Ledisi and Legend's take on the controversy below: