Patti LaBelle's Photo Diary

ESSENCE.COM Aug, 26, 2008

1 of 11 Carlo Dalla Chiesa

“I want to be remembered as a woman who was fair and always gave 150 percent, no matter what I did,” LaBelle says.

2 of 11 Courtesy of Patti LaBelle

Patti and Mariah Carey show their whip appeal on a girl’s night out.

3 of 11 Courtesy of Patti LaBelle

“I never feel pressured to have a more youthful sound,” LaBelle says. “I just do what I do best, and people have an appreciation for it. What I do is good enough that Wyclef, DMX and OutKast ask me to work with them.”

4 of 11 Carlo Dalla Chiesa

“The important thing about getting any award is always making sure you deserve it and that you maintain the standard that earned you the honor in the first place,” LaBelle says.

5 of 11 Carlo Dalla Chiesa

“I will always do what’s best for Patti and nothing that makes me feel less than my years,” LaBelle says. “If I tried to do anything other than that, it wouldn’t be real.”

6 of 11 Courtesy of Patti LaBelle

“Although I admire all the younger artists, I never try to emulate them or sing young music,” LaBelle says.

7 of 11 Carlo Dalla Chiesa

“I was talking to Nina Simone about a week before she died. She told me I was going to have to learn how to be mean,” LaBelle says. “I can’t be mean, but I have learned to demand what’s rightfully mine. When I put my foot down and say, ‘This is mine,’ I mean it.”

8 of 11 Courtesy of Patti LaBelle

LaBelle and her only child Zuri.

“My biggest accomplishment is my son, Zuri. Hair, clothes, music—all that other stuff makes me feel good temporarily, but they come at a cost, financial or otherwise. Not my son; his love is free,” she says. “If I wasn’t so old and I had the right man, I would have another child. I would even adopt. I missed out on raising my son in his younger years. I was always on the road, and my husband took care of him and went to all the PTA meetings. But I have to tell myself I did my best and make peace with it. I suppose there is still a void there. But if Zuri would have some kids, then I could just take my grandbabies and raise them.”

9 of 11 Courtesy of Patti LaBelle

LaBelle: Patti, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash are ready to take the stage.

“The streets are correct Nona Hendrix, Sara Dash and myself are working on a reunion!” LaBelle says.

10 of 11 Courtesy of Patti LaBelle

“A favorite of mine is a song I did with a friend called “Two Steps Away” which talks about how close we get to achieving our goals," LaBelle says. “We are in this world and just steps away from finding cures for sudden death syndrome and autism; two steps away from your last paycheck, last day on this planet. We take everything for granted from getting someone great in the White House to finding true romance.”

11 of 11 Courtesy of MCA Records

“By my definition I [consider myself a diva],” LaBelle says. “A diva is a person who has been here for a long time and is pressing on to do more pressing work and not waiting around for someone to count you in.”

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