On Monday (March 14) night, the 2016 BET Honors aired their ninth annual ceremony celebrating the lives of five resilient luminaries in the black community who have helped make a significant impact in the areas of art, technology, music, business and theater. Fantasia delivered a sensational tribute performance to iconic singer and honoree, Patti LaBelle.
LaBelle, whose nickname is the Godmother of Soul, was chosen as the 2016 recipient of the Musical Arts Award for her lengthy career in music, film, and on stage, as well as, her ability to influence an entirely new generation of independent divas. With over 15 studio albums under her belt, multiple Grammy Awards and countless hit singles (including crossovers), LaBelle continues to inspire others with her respectable legacy. Artists like Christina Aguilera, Alicia, Keys and Luther Vandross have all cited the powerful singer as an influence.
Anointing Fantasia to pay homage to the "Lady Marmalade" singer was no coincidence. The American Idol season three winner, Fantasia, struck up a friendship with the LaBelle years ago and the two have sustained a lasting bond ever since. Fantasia captivated the audience with a stunning rendition of LaBelle's gospel-like classic, "You Are My Friend," from her self-titled debut album.
"I see myself in Fantasia and Ledisi and those ladies," LaBelle told The Morning Call. "I can't think of any others, but it's such a compliment when they tell me that they grew up listening to my music and that Fantasia is like baby Patti LaBelle - she kicks her shoes off like I do and she rolls. She, hers is for real; she has this soul that's natural. She's one of those girls that I would pay to see."
The 31-year-old North Carolina native was greeted with a standing ovation from the entire audience, including LaBelle. She sang along word-for-word, basking in the reality of the many lives she's left an impact on and how her music has transformed the lives of millions around the world.
Back in 2009, LaBelle was given the UNCF Award of Excellence where Fantasia delivered another chilling tribute to her idol. She has also been honored with multiple Lifetime Achievement Awards and Entertainer Awards. LaBelle's name took over headlines recently when her sweet potato pies became a viral sensation, selling out at local Wal-Mart stores.