News Article

Independence Woman

Beyonce's July 4 shimmy at Grant's Tomb raises ire. One of the late president's descendents changes his tune and calls the booking thoughtless

I don't think Ulysses S. Grant was ready for this jelly. Caretakers of Grant's Tomb in upper Manhattan found Beyoncé Knowles' performance there during NBC's July 4 special too bootylicious for their taste. According to the Associated Press, Frank Scaturro, president of the Grant Monument Association, wrote letters of complaint Saturday to NBC, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, and National Park Service director Fran Mainella. In the letters, he cited Beyoncé's ''lascivious choreography'' and scantily clad dancers as ''patently inappropriate'' ways to behave at a president's grave.

NBC, Knowles, and the Interior Department have not commented on Scaturro's complaints. However, National Park Service spokesman Brian Feeney told the New York Daily News that the agency trusted the network to maintain decorum at the memorial site. ''The feeling was, if this was something that would be approved for broadcast on NBC,'' Feeney said, ''there is some level of appropriateness.'' (Obviously, no one at the Park Service has ever watched ''Fear Factor.'')

The 18th president's descendants seemed to have mixed feelings about Beyoncé's performance. ''The way the world is now, who cares?'' Grant great-grandson Chapman Foster Grant told the Daily News. ''It's kind of nice that he gets even a little exposure. Who knows? If the old guy were alive, he might have enjoyed it.'' The Daily News said Ulysses Grant Dietz, another great-grandson, agreed, but AP quotes Dietz as urging organizers to be more thoughtful, saying, ''If they're doing a Fourth of July celebration and they're doing it at a grave of a president, maybe they should look a little more closely at what the performances are.''

Originally posted Jul 14, 2003