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Patti LaBelle
Takes on Christmas

Patti LaBelle
Takes on Christmas


Writer Clay Cane sits down with Miss Patti and finds out the diva is as fun and ballsy as ever.

It wasn't always popular to have a gay fan base, but from the very beginning of Patti LaBelle's career, the artist embraced the LGBT audience. Her history with the gays goes back over 40 years, and last March she was a special honoree at the 18th Annual GLAAD Media Awards.

Just in time for the holidays, Patti LaBelle returns with Miss Patti's Christmas, in stores now, and Miss Patti delivers in the 10-track album, complete with her infectious energy, soul, and voice. This isn't your average humdrum Xmas album of ballads and yuletide greetings. Patti want us to have a good time in songs like "Christmas Jam," "Every Year, Every Christmas," and the remake of the 1978 Emotions classic "What Do the Lonely Do at Christmas?"

In a one-on-one interview, Patti talks of her gay following, the pressure to be a diva, and wanting a good man.

Why do you think you appeal so much to the gay community? I guess because they see no prejudice in me and no judgment. I don't judge you because you love who you love. I don't judge because of the color that you are. I don't judge anything. I'm very honest with gay people. I'm very honest with calling you out and saying come up to the front of the stage and let the audience know that you're gay. You're breathing and you're just like them. The only thing that you have is a different sexual orientation. I'm honest, and most gay people appreciate that.

At what point in your career did you know you had a gay following? I've been in this business for 45 years--I've known for 43 years that I've had a strong gay following and loved every minute of it.

Was it a certain song or a record? Well, I knew when Sylvester came out and he was doing my music. I was with him close to his death -- I went to his house and he was on his deathbed, so we were tight. I knew he loved me like crazy. I knew I was in then -- for Sylvester to love Miss Patti? Yes...

What's your take on transgender people? That's the way they were born -- people put them through hell! This is the body that they were born in. They want to get changed into a woman because that's who they feel they are. If they can afford it -- do you think I'm going to read them? Get on their case? My God, people put too much worry and emphasis on things that they should not be. Try to worry and figure out world peace, not the piece that the person has on them! I'm sick of people! I am, you can say that too...judging. Everybody's got to judge.

Could you see yourself getting married again? Hell, yes! I have to get married again. I have to cook for that man, I have to take care of that man, I have to make sure he's cool, and I have to make sure I'm cool. Ain't no lesbians coming up in here, so I got to marry a man! He's got to be real, he's got to smell good, he can't have bad breath, he can't have no ugly feet, he can't have no dirty nails, he cannot have a monkey face! I'm serious, some moose pushed up on me two weeks ago -- I said, "Boy, what you want?" He said, "You single, Miss Patti?" I said, "I'm going to stay single with people like you!" I need a beautiful man! I'm not lying! OK?

I do too! You do too -- you know! [Laughs] We don't want no monkeys coming up in here. Well, let me fix that -- there are some men who are not beautiful but have such beautiful spirits. I can get over that, you know, beautiful heart.

When can we expect an album of original material? Next year. I'm starting on that now with Def Jam. Alicia Keys is going to write something for me, Mariah is going to write something for me, and we're going to do some duets.

When people go to a Patti show they want to see a lot. Do you ever feel pressure from your fans to be over-the-top when performing? No, I'm feeling pressure now to keep hope alive, stay alive, and not to try and outdo myself. Not to out-dress, not to out-hair -- it doesn't matter. I'm about ready to go to onstage with jeans and a shirt. Those heels are killing me! I have these pumps, I just bought three pairs today, six inches, pumps that I don't really need. I have to stop acting like I'm 20. I'm 63! I get a little weak when I have on the six-inch pumps. I can't do what I used to do; I never try to outdo myself anymore. You get what I got to give you, but it's always going to be fabulous!

Miss Patti's Christmas is in stores now. Fore more information visit

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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Clay Cane