Patti LaBelle on Divas and Being There for Loved Ones
Patti LaBelle doesn’t consider herself a diva, and in a recent interview with LGBT website PrideSource, the legendary singer had harsh words for those who do.
When asked by PrideSource contributor Chris Azzopardi what being a diva meant to her, LaBelle didn’t mince words.
“That word is used so loosely that I don't even consider myself a diva,” she said. “I always considered myself a woman who sings her heart out and who gives 120 percent. ‘Diva’ is a word that I wouldn't wanna call myself because it's so loosely used. It's not cute anymore.”
Azzopardi followed up by asking if LaBelle felt the word had a negative connotation today.
“Yeah,” she responded, “Because all these little heifers who can't sing are called divas! It doesn't mean anything to me and probably to some of the other ladies who have been doing it for as long as I have: Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick. You know, I'm speaking for me - I don't know if they like to be called divas - but I know I wouldn't call them divas, because it's not in good company.”
She went on to say that, while the term was a sign of respect in the past, it now had no meaning.
"Well," she said, "For opera singers, and for ladies who earned it, but that was way, way back when."
"Now you can look up to them, but you might not see what you wanna see. A hot mess! People who are doing it and doing it with about 40 people on stage with them to hide their pitifulness - that's not a word, but you know what I mean."
The interview wasn’t all negative, however. After hinting that she’s working on as many as 3 new albums – jazz, dance and ballads – she closed with a touching remark about what she considers the most important lesson she’s learned in life.
"I've learned to love my family while they're here and give them anything they want ... within reason," she said.
"Never neglect going to the hospital to see your sister who's dying of cancer. I missed that one. I missed my last sister, Jackie, who died five minutes away and she wanted an egg sandwich and I said, "I'll bring it tomorrow." And tomorrow she was gone. My life lesson is to do for those who you care for today. Right now."