Our favorite “Divabetic” Patti LaBelle is living proof that diabetes doesn’t have to dim your dazzle!
Her diagnosis of type 2 diabetes hasn’t stop two-time Grammy-winning legend Patti from taking on new challenges in her career. She just released a new album, “Bel Hommage,” a jazz covers album executive produced by her ex-husband Armstead Edwards (“he’s known me and my voice for over 30 years, so why not?” she says of the musical marriage) on a new label (GPE Records) she co-owns with their son and her manager, Zuri Edwards of Edwards Entertainment.
“Now you know that’s just how I roll,” Patti told Variety in a recent interview.
It’s been 55 years since her debut single and she’s still going strong even though she admits it took awhile for her to get in tune with her diabetes self-care. Patti now eats right, exercises daily, and takes her medicine regularly and is riding high on the success of her Good Life foods imprint with Walmart, starting with the famed “Patti LaBelle Sweet Potato Pie,”and her show for the Cooking Channel’s “Patti LaBelle’s Place”.
However, we happy to hear that music, jazz in particular, remains the godmother of the ‘Divabetic’ movement’s first and truest love. When her ex-husband, Armstead Edwards, suggested that she record her jazz favorites, she jumped at the process, even though — at the time — she wasn’t completely confident in her vocal abilities. “I just didn’t like how I sounded. My voice wasn’t being kind to me. I knew I could be better. I didn’t think I could do it, but Armstead said ‘Blanche’ — that’s his nick name for me and my drama — ‘I know you have it in you.’ So I did it, and was in it to win it. Now, it sounds more beautiful than I ever imagined.”
LaBelle told Variety she fought with Edwards throughout the entire “Bel Hommage” recording process, “even when I knew he was right, just to stir thing up. There’s a lot of laughs, joy, and pain in that album.”
Several years ago, the rhythm-and-blues diva passed out on stage during a singing performance. That night, the doctor asked if she knew she had diabetes. “I didn’t have a clue,” Patti told Diabetic Living magazine. “I hadn’t gone to the doctor because nothing was hurting me.”
Our May Divabetic inspiration, Della Reese also experienced a situation similar to Patti Labelle’s when she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. She passed out on the set of her hit TV show, ‘Touched by An Angel”. Patricia Addie-Gentle RN, CDE shares ways to help you overcome the initial shock related to a diabetes diagnosis on May’s Diabetes Late Nite podcast s with musical inspiration from Della Reese.
Patti’s diagnosis made her angry, even though she knew diabetes ran in her family.
Anger frequently contributes to diabetes burnout, a person’s anger may encourage them to seek ‘freedom’ from the condition and neglect their self-management.
According to Diabetes UK ‘mindfulness based approaches’ are recognized as an effective and lasting means of aiding the management of anger. Research has shown that by becoming aware of the triggers as well as the emotional, mental and physical impact of anger, an individual is able to recognize and respond rather than react to triggers which may have initiated an automatic reaction.
Eventually, Patti, like Della, decided she needed a ‘new attitude’, just like the title of her 1985 chart-topper. “I realized my blood glucose levels weren’t getting any better,” she says. “So I knew I had to stop playing around and get serious about this disease.”
That’s good news because we just learned that Patti LaBelle has several albums ‘in the works’ including a gospel album, a dance-music album, and an album featuring the new first songs penned by fellow Philadelphians Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff .
“This is like a new beginning for me,” says LaBelle of “Bel Hommage,” “new, but still an old friend.”