The spirit of eight-time Grammy Award-winning R&B soul crooning icon Luther Vandross will forever remain a paragon of music greatness for all those who emerge after him.
Just ask Patti LaBelle, another soul and R&B icon and close friend of the late singer, who says his benevolent spirit is what kept Luther from disclosing his innermost private truth: his sexuality.
The Godmother of Soul sat down beside English singer-songwriter Sam Smith for an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with host Andy Cohen. Patti praised Smith’s unique vocals after a caller phoned in for the In The Lonely Hour singer, which reminded her of her late friend.
“There are voices in this world and once they sing, it’s a stamp on everybody,” she said. “Luther did that and he’s done it.”
While on the subject matter, Cohen probed her on whether he struggled with coming out about his sexuality. Patti said that they had discussed it, but he was mainly concerned with how those who were closest to him would receive it.
“Basically, he did not want his mother to be – although she might have known, but he wasn’t going to come out and say this to the world,” she said. “And he had a lot of lady fans and he told me the he just didn’t want to upset the world.”
It’s worth noting that society’s progression into sexual tolerance and acceptance wasn’t as prevalent back then either. And after Patti added that “it was hard for him,” it’s clear that Luther put a lot of thought into his decision as well.
Hear all that she had to say about the fallen music icon below.
(Photo from left: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage, Bennett Raglin/WireImage)