Singer Patti LaBelle
Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Patti LaBelle caught some flak for insinuating that her sweet potato pies’ success was a result of her own hard work and not the hilarious viral video made by a YouTube food critic.

During an interview with the Huffington Post, LaBelle backpedaled and reassured fans that she knew that she owed her pie’s success to James Wright. She took it a step further by extolling the power of the black dollar. Wright, an African American, encouraged other African Americans, and Americans at large, to buy LaBelle’s pies—causing them to fly off the shelves at Wal-Mart.

“We black folks, we don’t spend our money on anything unless we know it’s phenomenal,” LaBelle said. “It’s like a black woman with a weave—she ain’t gonna get that weave and spend all her money for it unless it’s a great weave.

“And the same thing with the power of the dollar with black food—and it’s not just black people buying it, but we’re showing them the power of the black dollar. And it’s priceless,” LaBelle argued. “The power of a black woman and the power of a black man singing my praises. James Wright and Patti LaBelle, and then the black public—they’re buying this pie. So the power of a dollar is waiting to exhale, but we won’t buy anything unless we know it’s a great product.”

It’s certainly a wonderful point to make during the holidays, when African-American social-justice activists encouraged black consumers to boycott Black Friday, as well as Cyber Monday. 

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Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.

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