Gladys Verzuz Patti Was Grown Folks' Business

Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle at Verzuz
Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle at Verzuz
Screenshot: verzuztv/Instagram

Do y’all feel that? Oh yes, it’s the unmatched warmth from the hug of a Black auntie.

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After processing what went down at Gladys Knight Verzuz Patti LaBelle this past Sunday night, I just feel...loved. So, let’s relive it! And for those of you who missed it live, that’s why I’m here!

Our Aunties Were There to “Kiss Away The Pain” of 2020

We have to start with the fashion because you know our aunties had to come to “Auntiechella” dressed to the nines. I know we all discussed what we were wearing this Sunday, but did y’all see that sparkly rose gold on Knight and LaBelle’s pantsuit with the bell sleeves (LaBelle sleeves!)?! These classy ladies weren’t sharp, but shaaaaaahp.

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When the elders are talking, you have no choice but to listen. This Verzuz was like one of those rare times we weren’t shooed away growing up because we had to “get out of grown folks’ business.” So, when we get the opportunity to bear witness to two greats chatting, we simply just soak in the goods.

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I wish I was in the room when LaBelle said to Knight, “I’ll tell you later” in reference to Michael McDonald when she introduced, “On My Own” and I wanted to be like “Nawl, tell us now!” but I knew better. In fact, I think she heard me say it in my head and popped me.

The auntie vibes were super strong. Whether it was LaBelle proudly saying she still had a flip phone (“I love my flip”) to Knight literally embodying mamas everywhere by leaning over and asking the folks in the background, “What y’all doing in that corner?” Oh, and Knight absolutely did implore Brandy and Monica to work it out. Real auntie shit.

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The “New Attitude” Was Present and Accounted For

I mean, these are the quintessential divas in mind, body and spirit, so of course, you were going to get some sass and snark! Whoever ran the teleprompter and LaBelle’s mic was about to get the Beyoncé “Somebody’s getting fired!” treatment, by the way!

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One of my biggest guffaws of the night was when LaBelle started singing, “If You Asked Me To” then proceeded to let everyone know she did it “first” prior to Celine Dion’s rendition! You better let the people know! I mean, I automatically and always attribute that song to LaBelle anyway, but sometimes you have to remind folks, in case they forgot!

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Plus, their overall energy was radiant. Knight performed “Love Overboard” as if she was singing to a stadium-sized crowd and LaBelle did what we all wanted her to do: kicked off her shoes and flapped.

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By the way, I think we have a new TikTok dance challenge, but you ain’t hear it from me.

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Black Women, “You’re Number One (In My Book)”

There’s nothing like Black women and the two ladies just reiterated that time and time again. Listening to them dispense wisdom reminded me of my mama and aunties dropping gems that will last a lifetime and beyond.

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Because it needs to be said and celebrated, Knight and LaBelle are each 76 years old. They have lived, honey. It was extra special to see the ladies pass the torch to the “young heifers” (as LaBelle hilariously called the next generation of Black female vocalists). Knight acknowledged it was important to open doors for the next generation. “Because someone opened it for us!” she exclaimed.

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“The real thing is music doesn’t have an age limit,” Swizz Beatz told fellow Verzuz co-founder Timbaland during their aftershow discussion. “A lot of people try to put an age limit on music but music is a timeless art.”

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“Neither One of Us” Was Expecting Dionne Warwick!

The actual announcement that Knight and LaBelle would be joining the Verzuz bandwagon was surprising enough so color us stunned when we saw Dionne Warwick saunter onto the stage and join the ladies!

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The top-tier trifecta gave us life and love with renditions of “That’s What Friends Are For” and “Superwoman” as the last two songs of the final 20.

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I’m still in a state of wow.

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“Thank you all for joining us. It was truly a blessing to be with you!” Knight tweeted after everything wrapped. We’re the blessed ones, ma’am.

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Of course, Black Twitter’s wheels are already turning for what the next Verzuz could possibly be. The most popular answer is a potential “Unclechella” session to compliment this past Sunday.

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The full playlist of Gladys Knight Verzuz Patti LaBelle is now available at Tidal.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

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DISCUSSION

This was amazing.  All of the music they have, I was in heaven.   I still want to know the tea behind her and Michael McDonald’s duet.