*As the Electronic Urban Report/EUR reported over the weekend, Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pies have taken the nation by storm with Walmart customers around the country keeping the stores’ shelves empty in their quest to get their hands on the desert.
TheGrio notes the high demand stems from a video posted by Los Angeles-based singer James Wright Chanel that features him tasting the pie and bestowing praise on the desert while singing LaBelle’s classic hits “If Only You Knew,” “You Are My Friend” and “On My Own.”
“I turned into Patti,” Chanel said in the video in between taking bites of the pie. “You’ll turn into Patti after eating this…You’ll feel like Patti LaBelle after eating this. Go to Walmart and buy the Patti LaBelle pie.”
Since it surfaced on Thursday (Nov. 12), the three-minute clip (see it below) has gone viral with Walmart stores throughout the country selling out the pies. As of Sunday afternoon (Nov. 15), the video has been viewed more than 7 million times on Facebook and more than 700,000 times on YouTube. The fallout from the video includes the $3.48 pies being sold out at Walmart locations in Los Angeles, Miami and Philadelphia (LaBelle’s hometown).
Douglas Yeakey, a North Bergen, N.J. Walmart manager, testified to the popularity of the pies as he revealed to The Grio, that the pies, which are advertised as being made with California grown sweet potatoes, butter and spice sold out within three hours it got 194 pies in on Saturday morning (Nov. 14) after being sold out on Friday.
“People have been coming in all day asking about the pies,” Yeakey told the site, adding a church group called about buying 300 pies. “We’re going to order as many as we can.”
For Khaliah Johnson, it was Chanel’s video that motivated her to give Patties pies a try. The 32-year-old Montclair, N.J., ended up getting to Walmart early Saturday morning and made out with six pies that day, after an extensive search.
“I saw people post the video on Facebook so I wanted to taste [the pie],” she said. “It was funny. The best part of the video was when he was singing.”
“I didn’t know it was going to be sold out everywhere. I searched high and low,” she added.
Like Johnson, Kategia Binion and Dorothy Rasdell bought six pies. The ladies referenced Chanel’s video as the cause of their desire to get the pies and admit that if it wasn’t for the clip, they would’ve missed out on the treat.
“The video made me want to taste the pie,” said Binion said, adding she enjoyed Chanel’s singing of LaBelle’s songs. “He hit those notes!”
For those wondering about what LaBelle thinks of Chanel’s viral video, rest easy. Turns out, the music icon called Chanel herself to chat with him and voiced her appreciation on Twitter.
“I LOVE THIS!!!” LaBelle tweeted in response to an Elle Magazine tweet about the viral video.
“When you get a personal phone call from Patti Labell [sic]. Oh I’m gonna have a great day,” Chanel wrote on Facebook on Friday (Nov. 13) about his chat with the entertainer.