It was the YouTube video seen around the world. It has more than 3 million views. It had Walmart selling out of unusually bright orange sweet potato pies one recent weekend and beyond. That’s right: James Wright’s video singing the praises of R&B diva Patti LaBelle’s “Patti’s Pies” has created a sensation. It also has put a question before LaBelle’s fans: Is the icon doing enough to help Wright? LaBelle called him, complimented him on his singing talent, is said to be helping him with a career (though this has only been said in one news article). But then we come to her rather ungracious comment: “I did it myself.” Oh, really?
Considering that Wal-Mart sold nearly 2 million pies after Wright’s video, that some Wal-Marts are sold out of the product, that eBay is charging up to $12,000 for them, Facebook critics of “Petty Patti” (a moniker created by her trolling critics) have asked: Should the YouTube celebrity be compensated? Though the legal and business arguments weigh against it, does this come down to yielding to mob overreaction, or is there some controlling sense of courtesy, involved? What does this do to Patti’s “brand” over the long-term? At least, we can be confident of this: Patti’s Pies are this year’s holiday treat of the season.