*It’s not the first time that Patti Labelle has appeared at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts but whenever she does, she’s loved. Patti will regale the audience as only she can on Saturday, May 11th, for an 8:00 p.m. performance and she is anxious to do it again. Lehman Center is located at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West in the Bronx, so if you want to catch her, best to call the box office at 718-960-8833 before tickets disappear.
Eva Bornstein, the Executive Director of Lehman College is also sponsoring a Spring Gala and Benefit for Lehman Center in cooperation with The Montefiore Children’s Hospital. The benefit reception will take place in the Lehman Center lobby from 4:30-7:00 pm. “We will be serving wine and hors d’oeuvres and Patti will attend. So if people want to say hi and snap photos, they can. I cannot guarantee that they can get close to her, but they can share the same space. I am also proud to help young artists. Patti loves to do that as well. So, Lehman will be featuring Xavier Lewis, who was a contestant on America’s Got Talent, as Patti’s opening act. He is a very talented young man whose song, “Georgia Clay,” was featured on the Steve Harvey show. Also, Xavier was the Grand Prize Winner of the Georgia Lottery All Access Music Search for Pop/R&B, and his single was featured throughout the State of Georgia. So, we encourage people to attend the Gala. For information about the Gala go on line at www.LehmanCenter.org or call 718-960-8835,” said Eva.
Who doesn’t know Patti Labelle? Many recall when she first appeared on the music scene with The Bluebelles. Patti spent 16 years as lead singer of Patti Labelle and the Bluebelles, who eventually changed their name to Labelle in the early 1970s. We recall songs like “On My Own,” “Lady Marmalade,” “New Attitude,” “If Only You Knew,” “You are My Friend” and “Love, Need and Want You,” et al. Some, she will sing at Lehman Center on May 11th. Labelle was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Apollo Hall of Fame, the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame as well as into the World Music Awards. She has appeared in “A Soldier’s Story,” “A Different World,” “Mama, I Want to Sing!,” “Cosby,” “Living It Up with Patti Labelle,” “Top Chef” and “Preaching to the Choir.”
Labelle has sold over 50 million records worldwide and authored and co-authored books like “Don’t Block the Blessings,” which was on the NYT’s bestseller list for weeks, “Patti Labelle’s Lite Cuisine” (recipes suited for people living with diabetes), “Recipes for the Good Life,” “Patti’s Pearls,” and “Labelle’s Cuisine: Recipes to Sing About.”
Reflecting on her life, Patti remarked, “I would say that I am pretty, pretty blessed. You never know what is going to happen in life. I am happy about all the things I’ve done and all the people I’ve met. God is good. I feel very fortunate.”
Known for her love of cooking, Patti recalled performing with Elton John in London, back in the day. “Sometimes you can get pretty hungry preparing to go onstage, so after the shows, I often fed the folks. We would sit around playing cards and I would win all of Elton and his bands money. I had a place in London and I would cook and we would play cards and eat. Sometimes, backstage I had nothing at my disposal but aluminum foil and an iron so would cook with that. I made pretty good grilled cheese sandwiches and even heated up chicken with that foil and an iron. You have to become creative with what you have to work with,” reminisced Labelle.
Suffering with diabetes, Patti has written several books on eating healthy. One book she wrote to help diabetics. “It’s the diabetic’s job to leave the bad foods alone. Diabetics need to prepare food without butter. Bake, broil and boil instead of frying. You can do vegetables with smoked turkey to avoid fats when cooking greens. Diabetes was a life changing experience for me. I’ve spent 15 years living with the disease. I steam much of my food and use pink salt, sea salt and hot peppers to spice food up, so I don’t miss the fats. I had a restaurant in Philadelphia for a hot minute called Chez Labelle. It’s difficult to run a restaurant. It’s hard to find a chef who cooks like Patti Labelle, so I did not keep the restaurant long,” recalls Patti.
Patti talked about her family. “I have one natural son, my deceased sister’s two children, and I have two brothers. They are all wonderful. I am the godmother of Cyndi Lauper’s son and Laura Nero’s son. I am also the godmother of Mariah Carey. Laura’s son is a rapper now. We try to stay in touch with one another as much as we can.”
“I am presently in the studio working on a new CD. I’ve chosen songs that belong to the greats like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn. Some songs people never heard before. I have been working on the CD 6 months now and should be finished by the end of the year,” said Patti who
is delighted to have Xavier Lewis open the show for her. “I haven’t met him yet, but I intend to meet him and I know we will have a good time on May 11th. I hope everyone will come out and support me. I am going to do my very best to give my fans a great show.”
Deardra Shuler is a well published journalist who has profiled celebrities and written about people of note for many years. In addition to her column at EURweb.com, she is the host of her radio show “Topically Yours” on BlakeRadio.com and has shows featured on NPR via Initiative Radio. Ms. Shuler is featured in several papers. Her international column in Sweden, “Music Pastures” is available at http://soulinterviews.com. Interested parties can acquire info regarding Deardra through Writspirit.com, Tagged.com, Facebook and Google. Contact her via: [email protected].