*Patti LaBelle says she and her devoted fan James Wright Chanel have become close friends since his video praising her Walmart pies went viral and sent sales of the product soaring.
In addition to spending Thanksgiving together at LaBelle’s house, the two filmed a holiday television special set to air on the Cooking Channel, according to People.com.
“It’s one of those blessed stories,” LaBelle tells People. “For his birthday, which is Thanksgiving, we were at my home. I invited him to dinner before I even met him.”
In fact, their first meeting was on the set of the show. “It was his first time seeing me, so when he came into the kitchen, he saw me and my back was turned. He came up behind me and he had on these beautiful leopard pants and a necklace,” the singer says. “We just had a love moment.”
LaBelle says she sees herself as a mother figure for Chanel. “He’s such a larger than life person himself; he’s like my new son. It’s just a blessing when people come into your life like this and you’re not expecting anything.”
It’s a sentiment that the YouTube star certainly echoes. “When she first called, it was like we’d known each other forever; we talked like we were best friends,” Chanel tells People. “I told her, ‘I have to tell my mom that Patti is my new momma too.’ I said, ‘Patti, you my momma!’”
As for what we can expect from the special, the pair ensures that there will be sweet potato pie, as well as a variety of other pies. “He’s a great sous chef, I found out,” LaBelle says.