Did Patti LaBelle Just Cordially Invite Ariana Grande to the Cookout?

Illustration for article titled Did Patti LaBelle Just Cordially Invite Ariana Grande to the Cookout?
Photo: NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 06: Ariana Grande speaks onstage with Patti LaBelle at Billboard Women In Music 2018 on December 6, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Billboard)

Ariana Grande has had a rough couple of years.

In 2017, there was a suicide bombing at her Manchester, England concert that killed 22 people and injured hundreds of others. And this year, she not only broke off her engagement with comedian-actor Pete Davidson, but her ex-boyfriend, rapper Mac Miller, died as a result of a drug overdose as well.


But apparently keenly aware of the trauma and obstacles Grande has endured, Auntie Patti—more commonly known as Patti LaBelle to those suffering from acute melanin deficiencies—made it her civic duty to lift Grande’s spirits at Billboard’s 13th annual Women in Music event on Thursday night.

“I’m thrilled to be among so many wonderful friends to present this year’s ultimate honor to Billboard’s Woman of the Year. A young woman who has it all,” Aunti Patti preached from the pulpit. “She’s soulful, strong, and she’s just sensational. She’s all that and a bag of chips. She’s a giant talent who sings from the heart, as I learned when we sang together at the White House for President Obama and Mrs. Obama. She tore it down. Honestly, she can sing her face off.”

Then—whether we want the 25-year-old songstress to partake in our beloved baked beans or not—I think Auntie Patti extended an invitation to the cookout:

“She asked me some questions one time. Remember when we did the President’s stuff? And you said, ‘Patti, what should I do?’ I said sing like that little white/Black girl that you are. She got soul like a mug!” she told Arianna, “My son told me not to say that, but it’s true.”

“Your son was probably right,” Grande interjected.

Look, we love you Auntie Patti but this ain’t it.


Pretty much.

Especially when Patti’s comments are coupled with Grande’s penchant for routinely deploying brown face (she gets darker by the hour and receipts are readily available via Google), making some questionable remarks (“Thank you, guys, so much for coming to my quinceanera!”) and capitalizing off of racial ambiguity.


So congrats on the very much deserved award and your resilience in the face of adversity should be lauded, but cookout invitations are suspended indefinitely.

Feel free to sing from the sidewalk though.

And of course, we still love you though, Patti.

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for y'all to stop putting sugar in grits.



Being racially ambiguous is not something someone decides themselves, and just because there is power in it, does not mean it is a bad quality to possess in and of itself. One needn’t flex, but shooting down those who just happen to be racially ambiguous, just for that trait is dangerous. Would you do the same to Barack? Last I checked, his mother was white.

Auntie Patti inviting Ariana to the cookout does not threaten anyone else’s position, because as we know, Patti has many opinions, on many celebrities—so they would have already been invited/disinvited so to speak. So, why even question such a pleasant decree from a Diva?

In the future, more and more of us will be mixed anyhow, so if the Mariahs, Drakes, and Arianas have a leg up on things, I really cannot be mad if they act responsibly. Doughnut faux pas and mini-pigs aside, Ariana is not out here hurting anyone except maybe her ex’s feelings, so chill.

After all, The Root is the same blog that fawns over Serena Williams and her mixed baby, as well as the fashions of Kim Kardashian’s children, so perhaps we can have a more thoughtful discourse in relation to mixed persons, rather than dragging Patti for being nice to a racially ambiguous girl who had a rough year, who also just also happens to be able to sing. If there ever were white folk with flavor, it would be Italians, so rest assured, Ariana would know what to bring, and how to behave at the cookout.