At 75 years old and still touring, Southwest Philly native Patti LaBelle knows the secret to staying young — and it has to do in part with her hometown.
“It’s the Philly in me,” LaBelle said of her youthful vigor in an appearance on Temple University graduate Tamron Hall’s ABC talk show. “My mother and father in me. We have good genes, and good black don’t crack. I’m just loving my life. I’m 75 years young. Don’t ever be afraid of your age, ladies.”
Part of that youthfulness, LaBelle added, is always trying to look her best, saying that “even at the airports, you’re going to see me in a pump, and a nice wig, or a nice hat.”
Philly, of course, loves LaBelle right back — even if we did spell her name wrong on a special street sign earlier this year. In July, the city honored the legendary soul singer with her own Philly street by renaming a section of Broad Street between Spruce and Locust Streets Patti LaBelle Way.
However, the Streets Departments technically misspelled LaBelle’s last name by leaving out the capital B, replacing it instead with a lowercase version. City communications director Deana Gamble told the Inquirer at the time that the Streets Department was aware of the error and installed correctly spelled signage following a ceremony honoring the singer.
LaBelle, meanwhile, appeared at that ceremony to accept the honor and autograph a similar sign — though that version was spelled correctly. As a result of the honor, she became one of several notable celebrities with Philly streets named after them, including Boyz II Men and Muhammad Ali, despite Ali being a native of Kentucky.
LaBelle recently made headlines when she was kicked off The Masked Singer. Jezebel called it a “pure and simple travesty.”
Aside from her singing, LaBelle has also taken up acting and entrepreneurship over her five-decade-plus career. Among her most successful ventures have been her sweet potato pies, which went viral in 2015 after a vlogger posted a review of them online, leading to massive sales reaching as high as one per second at Walmart, according to NPR.
As LaBelle said backstage at Tamron Hall, her journey into the world of pies is fairly recent — she started only a decade ago. Her first pie? Apple — sweet potato was her second.