Photo via Flickr user seelensturm
Buddy Valastro may indeed be the boss of cakes, but Patti LaBelle just became the undisputed lord of pies. The 71-year-old singer-turned-cooking-personality and sauce peddler may have just found her greatest calling yet. All it took was a viral video from a man unboxing and devouring one of her pies as he extolls its delights, singing and swearing at the top of his lungs.Walmart, the supplier of Patti LaBelle's Sweet Potato Pie, was not expecting the sudden demand that followed the viral video. "We need something like 2 million pounds of sweet potatoes, and that's not something easy to get," Walmart's Vice President for Bakery and Deli Kerry Robinson said after basically all of the chain's supply unexpectedly sold out over the weekend. Patti and her multinational retail partner can thank James Wright, a bedazzled-hat-wearing YouTuber, for the puzzling turnaround. According to Robinson, sales were just OK when the pies debuted in September, but thanks to Wright they sold a pie per second last weekend.
Wright appears to be a wannabe R&B singer who has had middling success on his YouTube channel—that is, until he decided to unbox one of Patti's goodies. The video now has over 2 million views.
Belting out the classic LaBelle songs, "If You Only Knew" and "On My Own," Wright basically worships at the feet of Patti and her sweet potatoes. "Patti!" he screams. "Mmmm. I swear. Bitch, you'll feel like Patti LaBelle after eating this," he tells viewers. "Patti, you bitch, you are my friend. I never knew until then, but I know now."Comments on the video provide a glimpse into the mania for Patti Pies that Wright has whipped up. One John Riggs aka RIGG'd Games, acted early. He says, "I rushed to Walmart and bought a pie. You're right, it makes you wanna sing. And that's coming from me, the whitest white dude on your channel." Many commenters pointed out that in their humble opinions, Wright should get a cut of pie sales. In that vein, Youtube user dehende07 posted this: "Bitch because of you them patti pies [sic] are sold the fuck out of every Walmart near me……Patti owes you some coins gurl [sic]."
— Walmart (@Walmart) November 17, 2015
Patti herself—yes, the Patti—got wind of the video and called Wright to express her appreciation. Wright told Chicago's Fox 32 News that the call brought him to tears. Wright said, "She kept thanking me and she kept telling me how much she loved me and she just kept telling me to be me. She was like, 'Boy, you can sang!'''A secondary market has now developed for Patti Pies. Although Walmart is struggling to supply the overwhelming demand, the pies can be obtained for a premium on eBay, where they are selling for up to $40 a pop. That's quite a markup for a crust and some filling that normally retails for less than $4.Now if only somebody would finally come out with a Disco Duck-themed donut. Working on the video now.