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‘People Thought I Should Have Bought Him a Mansion or Something’: Patti LaBelle Discusses Influencer James Wright Chanel, Who Complained He Was Shortchanged After Patti’s Pies Reportedly Made $11 million In Two Days Following His Viral Video

Singing diva Patti LaBelle wants people to know it was hard work that got her food company off the ground and into Walmart. And not an influencer who have her pie props.

In 2015, James Wright Chanel went viral after his over-the-top review of Patti LaBelle pies. Pie sales spiked. At the time, Chanel said LaBelle’s success was due to him. And he complained LaBelle was ungrateful, calling her out during an interview with BET.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JULY 03: Patti LaBelle speaks onstage during the 2022 Essence Festival of Culture at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 3, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence)

“The pie made $11 million and sold 2.5 million pies in just two days. No Walmart in any county had a pie,” said James in 2018. “People were even selling those pies for like twenty times the price, all because of … me.”

But on a recent episode of the popular podcast “Drink Champs,” LaBelle said she wanted to set the record straight about her involvement with Chanel.

When asked about Chanel, she said that now “he’s one of my better friends now. We didn’t know him, but at the time we were in London performing and got this video of this guy doing this video and I said, ‘Wow, that’s sweet.’”

According to LaBelle, the pie was already selling in Walmart — and selling well. But “they sold even more right after. Now he’s one of my better friends.”

LaBelle acknowledged that some people didn’t think she properly thanked him or rewarded him about financially.

“We took care of him. We don’t like people to be used or abused … and he appreciated it,” she explained. “But people had to chit-chat and talk like I should have bought him a mansion or something.”

She continued that since the video was something that happened organically and was not planned, there was no arrangement.

“I always wanted to get that story straight right and we’re friends,” she added. “We talk, he comes and stays with me and cooks for me because he’s a great chef. So that’s the story.”

LaBelle has since expanded her food brand to include chicken and biscuits, kale greens, cornbread, mac and cheese, pancakes, waffles, and syrup. The products are in Walmart and Target.

In 2020 her pies are still a favorite at Walmart, where shoppers are still buying 36,000 pies every single day, Food and Wine reported.

LaBelle’s net worth is about $60 million, due to her continuing singing career, her tours, and now food empire.

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