Patti LaBelle – Booming And Wants Us To Boom Too

| December 7, 2017 | 0 Comments | Email This Post Email This Post
By Carolyn Rokke

Patti Labelle, the Award-Winning Singer

Patti LaBelle, the “Godmother of Soul,” has been singing since she was 5 years old, using the broom as a microphone, looking in the mirror and sounding good. Her mother told her she needed to sing in the choir and her response was “oh, no. I don’t like people.” When she went to the choir and started singing background, the choir director heard that voice and said “Patti, you have to sing lead.” It’s hard to imagine now, but Patti LaBelle was afraid of the people and their reaction. When she finished singing, those people she feared gave her a “hallelujah and a standing ovation.” She has been singing for others ever since.


Patti was the lead singer for LaBelle in the 70’s, and “Lady Marmalade” became an iconic disco hit. Probably millions of boomers remember happily mangling the words “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)?” while burning up the dance floor under a disco ball.  

When the group split, Patti LaBelle began a successful solo career. She became a mainstream solo star with the success of “New Attitude” and “Stir It Up,”. Both of which were on the soundtrack of the 1984 movie Beverly Hills Cop and became radio staples.

Patti LaBelle According to Wikipedia

According to Wikipedia, LaBelle has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Apollo Theater Hall of Fame and the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. In 2005, the World Music Awards recognized her years in the music business by awarding her the Legend Award. LaBelle was included in Rolling Stone on their list of 100 Greatest Singers.

More recently, Patti LaBelle has appeared on Broadway, in the musicals Fela, about Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti in 2010, and in After Midnight in 2014. In 2015, at the age of 71, LaBelle became a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. Reaching the half-way point before being eliminated from the show.

Patti, the health spokesperson


Patti LaBelle lost three of her sisters to cancer in their early 40’s. She lost her mother to complications from diabetes.  Even then, Patti says, “For years I thought everything was right until 21 years ago I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I thought that I was untouchable, that no illness is going to touch me. After that I became more aware of my life and my body and I changed everything – more habits of eating, more exercise, more awareness of blood sugars.”  

Perhaps due to that background, Ms. LaBelle has a long history of bringing awareness to health issues.  She realizes she has the influence as a respected entertainer to inform others. “I know whenever I speak to people I give them the honest-to-God truth about anything they might ask me. I figure that people look up to me somewhat. The reason I continue to do things like this is that it’s necessary for people to look at these issues – and if they have to look at it from an entertainer, I don’t mind doing this, because it’s real.”

Patti and All About Your Boom

When Pfizer asked Patti about helping to launch All About Your Boom™, a public awareness campaign to empower adults 65 and older to get a new attitude about the risks of pneumococcal pneumonia and the importance of staying up-to-date on the CDC-recommended vaccinations, it did not take long for her to say yes. Patti realized that “as a singer, if I was ever dealt the deal of pneumococcal pneumonia, I might not be singing at all.” On September 26, Ms. LaBelle set aside time to do telephone interviews to start getting the word out.

As part of the promotion, Patti LaBelle played a prank on some singers over age 65 by inviting them to audition for a commercial, singing her hit “New Attitude.” The sound system was rigged for the sound to come out as if they were trying to sing with pneumococcal pneumonia. It was disconcerting and these people who live by their voices were shocked to hear what they might sound like if they contracted the disease. To see that video and learn more, visit All About Your Boom™.

Pneumococcal Pneumonia


Some things to know about pneumococcal pneumonia and the vaccine from the website:

  • Pneumococcal Pneumonia
    • Caused by bacteria in the upper respiratory tract
    • Spread by coughing
    • Symptoms may include high fever, excessive sweating, shaking chills, coughing, difficulty breathing and chest pain  
      • The cough and fatigue may last for weeks or even longer
    • Can strike at any age, but is more dangerous for those over 65, as immune systems naturally weaken with age
      • People over 65 are at thirteen times greater risk of being hospitalized with pneumococcal pneumonia compared to adults younger than 50
    • Can strike even the energetic and healthy
  • The Vaccine
    • A one-time shot, recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), for all people over 65
    • Covers a majority of the bacterial strains that circulate and cause pneumococcal pneumonia
    • Recommended at a younger age for people with chronic conditions like:
      • Diabetes
      • COPD
      • Heart disease
      • Lung disease
      • Renal disease
Patti, Today

At 73, Patti LaBelle is going strong. She maintains a concert schedule, and the cooking show “Patti LaBelle’s Place” on the Cooking Channel starts its third season at the end of this year.  She also has four cookbooks on the market. Patti has been cooking since she was 10.  Diabetes changed her cooking, but it didn’t diminish her love of the activity. She does all her own cooking at home, and when on the road she travels with her pots and pans so she can cook there too. Cooking is her way to relax and to make sure she eats good food that’s right for her. In discussing living with diabetes, Patti said that the hardest thing she had to give up was “cheesecake. Plain old white cheesecake. No toppings.”     

Patti makes sure to keep moving.  When she is at home, she loves to clean. “I have a housekeeper, but I clean the house before he comes. I’ve been so blessed with all this good health and all this energy that I find fun in dancing and cleaning the house.” She loves to jam to good music while she’s cleaning or working in the yard. She says, “And I don’t jam like some 100-year-old woman. I’m jamming like a 10-year-old, because I can.” What does Patti jam to? Anything that moves her soul. A few favorites that will really get her going are “Shock the Monkey” by Peter Gabriel, “Ain’t Nobody” by Chaka Khan and “California Love” by Tupac Shakur.  

Through the All About Your Boompromotion, she wants to encourage others to “look at Patti and say, ‘oh, let me check this out.’” This promotion is about every boomer’s health, and thinking about our health brings a lot of good reasons to bother checking out this site, and getting that vaccine.   

Carolyn Rokke is a retired librarian in Sacramento, California.




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