Legendary singer Dionne Warwick is no stranger to controversy, but when she became the target of the Beyhive, she decided it was time to clarify some of her comments. The “That’s What Friends Are For” singer recently sat down with Essence magazine to talk about what it means to be an icon in the music industry. Warwick has been making music for six decades—including releasing her album She’s Back last week and finishing up a recent Vegas residency— so she knows a thing or two about longevity.
However, when she told Essence that Beyoncé wasn’t an icon, Bey’s superfans went wild. “I don’t know if 10 years from now, anybody can actually sing the songs of our babies today,” Warwick said. “That’s not, as you guys say, ‘throwing shade.’ That’s just looking at it with reality.” Essence asked if Warwick thinks we have classics now. “No yet,” she replied in the video.
She continued, “When you speak of folks who have been in the industry, recording for as long as I have, and my peers…These babies, who are approaching 20 years, maybe, which is kinda amusing to me because I’m certain they wouldn’t even last that long. But since they have, when they get into the 50s and 60s year range, that’s when you can start saying, ‘Well, maybe there is a classic hidden somewhere amongst them.’ But at this very moment, I don’t see it. I certainly appreciate the fact that youngsters are doing it…and I mean they are doing it.”
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“I have an admiration for Beyoncé Knowles,” Warwick added. “Carter, now. Watching her grow has been quite refreshing. It’s wonderful to see how she’s been able to create what and who she wanted to be and who she is. Very proud of that. I am. Now, sustaining and become the icon that Gladys Knight, or Patti LaBelle, or Johnny Mathis, or Frank Sinatra, or Sammy Davis Jr. is? I doubt that. I really do, and I love her to death and can appreciate her talent. But that iconic status that I just mentioned before? Those names? It’s a long road.”
Fans told Warwick that Beyoncé is clearly an icon and they called the 78-year-old legend every disrespectful name under the sun. However, Warwick clarified her statements, tweeting that Essence wasn’t telling the full truth. “What I said is in quotes. What @Essence said is not. It takes a long time to reach and achieve iconic status. That’s not to say that Beyoncé isn’t well on her way. She is a gifted performer. That was a reach from Essence.”