The whole time I drove down to Philly, yesterday, with my BET camera crew, I was swiveling my neck and talking smack about my upcoming interview with Miss Patti LaBelle.
First of all, she was supposed to come to the BET studios last week and canceled at the last minute and I was mic’d up and ready to go! So I was already side-eyeing Miss Patti.
When her publicist told me I could come down to her hometown of Philadelphia and talk over some real live #PattiPie, I agreed. But I was ready to come down there and grill her.
For starters, why are people acting like this boxed pie from Walmart is the end-all be-all. At the end of the day, it’s a mass-produced pie with her picture on it! She wasn’t baking these pies in Philadelphia and then jumping in a sleigh like Santa, delivering them to Walmarts around the country! Sure, she gave them a recipe. But that pie could not be the same. So just stop, Miss Patti!
Then I heard that TMZ asked Miss Patti about viral sensation James Wright and how his video made her pie a success, and Miss Patti tried to say it wasn't about his video!
So now I’m driving to Philly all hot under the collar, ready to rake Miss Patti over the coals. You think James Wright isn’t the reason your pies are selling out all over the country? And you’re going from morning show to morning show serving up your pies like they’re just baked. No, Miss Patti. I will come down there and we will have a very stern talk.
I sat down in the dining room at the home of a friend of Patti’s and waited. I had a Patti Pie ready and waiting. And though I’d had it for a few days, I’d refused to taste it. I was going to take my first bite of the infamous Patti Pie right in front of her. And if it wasn’t awesome, I was going to tell her to her face: "Miss Patti. This pie ain’t all that."
Not only that, but I had my cousin bake my grandmother’s recipe for sweet potato pie. And if Miss Patti’s pie wasn’t tasty, I was going to tell her to try MY grandmother’s recipe.
But then Miss Patti walked in the room. And she does this thing that she does to people. She melts you like a stick of butter in a warm pan.
“Aliya, how are you?” she said. She took both her hands and put them on my cheeks and kissed me.
All of a sudden, I was a puddle.
“I’m good, Miss Patti,” I said. Then I remembered to keep my eyes on the prize, no matter how sweet Miss Patti was and how awesome she smelled.
“Let’s talk about how this pie went viral.” I said.
I gave Miss Patti some good side-eye, ready for her to forget to mention James Wright.
“Oh, well honey, this young man named James Wright made this video and I am SO grateful.”
“Miss Patti,” I said. “The Internets were a little concerned that you weren’t giving James Wright enough credit.”
“Aliya, I’m having James over this week for Thanksgiving dinner... After all he did for me, I’m so happy, I’ll be hosting him for the holiday. I talked to him and found out what he likes and I’m making a few special dishes just for him.”
So I couldn’t grill Miss Patti on that. She’s having James over for Thanksgiving, y’all! You know they’re going to be singing “On My Own” and eating pie and having a grand old time.
Well, I still had one more side-eye moment left for Miss Patti: The pie. I took it out of the box. It was cold and there was no time to heat it.
I took a bite, and the pie is good, y’all. Like, it’s really good. I ate it cold. I can’t even imagine what it would taste like warmed up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on it. Is it so good it should be selling out stores all over the country? That’s debatable. But is it so good you could put it out for Thanksgiving and people would think it was homemade? Absolutely.
I decided to come clean with Miss Patti. I told her the truth. I wasn’t expecting to like the pie. And I was prepared to tell her.
I even admitted that I had my own grandmother’s sweet potato pie in the car. She made me go get it. And we ate a slice of that one too. (She gave high marks to my cousin Allison, who made the pie.)
“Miss Patti,” I said. “I feel awful. This pie is good. And I didn’t want it to be.”
“Aliya sweetheart,” she said, taking my cheeks into her hands again. “It’s OK! The next one I make is going to be even better.”
Miss Patti and the Patti Pies: A Thanksgiving miracle.
Take a look at our breakdown of the "Patti Pie" craze in the BET Breaks video below:
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(Photos from left: Cindy Ord/Getty Images for ALA, James Wright Chanel via Facebook)