If ever there was any doubt about Patti LaBelle’s diva status, she solidified it during her recent interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Appearing on last Sunday’s episode of “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” the 69-year-old singer silenced the talk show queen with just one word.
When Winfrey asked LaBelle if she had ever been booed at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem, where the interview took place, LaBelle responded with a curt, “What?”
She followed that with, “Girl, who you talking to?” before moving on to the next question.
Like a true diva, LaBelle also shed tears recounting all that she’s overcome.
“I’ve been shut down, run down, talked about, dogged out, but that never stopped me from the being the true me that’s here and will be here,” LaBelle said, choking back tears. “I can never not be happy about my life–all the things that I’ve been in and out of and through. I’m so strong now, Oprah, I don’t need to worry about anything. I have nothing to prove.”
LaBelle’s answers were as refreshing as a splash of cold water on your face. Brace yourself for seven surprising moments from the interview:
1. She Doesn’t Own a Cell Phone
“I don’t tweet, Twitter, email, Facebook, look book, no kind of book,” LaBelle told Winfrey. “I have a land line phone at my home–that’s the only phone I have. If my phone rang every day like everyone else around me, I would lose my mind. Homie don’t play that.”
2. Don’t Expect Her to Talk on Your Cell Phone Either
When fans approach her with their phones to say hello to a loved one, LaBelle demurs. “I don’t do the phones because I don’t want no germs, baby, but tell her I said ‘hey.’ I’m not speaking on your instrument,” she said.
3. She Cleans Her Own House
“I clean my house, although I have help,” LaBelle said. “I’m on the floor getting spots. I can’t stand a dirty house. I’m a cleaning fanatic.”
4. She’s Not Getting Married Again
The last time LaBelle sat down with Winfrey, she had just split with her husband of 34 years, Armstead Edwards. When Winfrey brought up the split again, LaBelle said, “You had a problem with that, you had an attitude, you were about to cut him down.” Asked if she would ever marry again, as Tina Turner did earlier this year at 73, LaBelle was firm. “Congratulations, Tina darling, but Patti’s not going to go there every again–never. Why would I at 69?”
5. What Makes Her Happy Now
“Flowers, walking my little shih tzu, walking in my pool–though I can’t swim,” LaBelle said. “I’m not swimming. I don’t even have a bathing suit. I’m walking in my t-shirt and my short pants.”
6. Whether She Consider Herself a Legend
“Yes, I really do,” LaBelle told Winfrey. And when Winfrey had the nerve to doubt that she’d really accepted her status, LaBelle gave her a “What?”
7. Her Supposed Feud with Diana Ross
For years LaBelle thought Diana Ross didn’t like her after hearing various rumors through the grapevine. “We went years without seeing each other, talking on the phone,” LaBelle told Winfrey. Then, Winfrey sat them together at her Legends Ball of influential African-American women. “We exchanged phone numbers and started talking to each other after the Legends Ball,” LaBelle said. “There was a big mess about being people thinking she didn’t like me and I didn’t like her. I love her.”