Fresh Black Girls: Patti LaBelle!
As evidenced by this Philadelphia mural, if there is anyone who deserves major sweatage it’s Patti LaBelle. What makes her freshest is the fact that she has made it her business to do everything under the sun, and in the process has become the woman we all want to be when we grow up by default. Always distinctive, Patti Labelle is the very mold for “the diva.” As lead singer of the group Labelle, Patti broke barriers by dressing in wacky space-age attire like other funk groups of the time but with a bold female twist – before you say anything, yes that photo is Patti with her old nose, but I ain’t mad. Labelle’s “Lady Marmalade,” is easily one of the most imitated songs ever, from that vastly inferior Moulin Rouge version to folks mangling and inappropriately blurting out voulez-vous couchez avec moi for the past twenty years? Patti’s illustrious solo career included the hits “New Attitude,” “If You Asked Me To,” and my personal favorite “On My Own,” with blue-eyed soulster Michael MacDonald. In the 90’s, Patti had her own sitcom, Out All Night, the epitome of Colored But Cancelled television. To this day, give Patti some gospel to sing and you’ll get a Holy-Ghost-catchin’ performance that could convert any sinner. Patti even has her own line of sassy lil’ wigs (quite a feat considering her Hair Freak status for most of the ’80s), and a diabetes-friendly food line called “Good Life.” Another fresh thing about Patti is that she never seems worried about her shine. How could she be when she blows her pipes loose during every performance? Case in point: Patti, Dionne Warwick, and Gladys Knight, clad in all white, singing “Superwoman,” for a pre-low-carb Oprah Winfrey. All three women are phenomenal, but Patti kills it.