By Robert Stitt
Remember the entertaining man who burst into song after taking a bite of a Patti LaBelle Sweet Potato Pie? Walmart sure does. The singing endorsement of James Wright, who claimed just a bite of a LaBelle pie put enough soul in you to channel the Queen of Soul herself, led to a nationwide shortage of the pies as they flew off the shelves in record numbers. In fact, Walmart said they were selling more than a pie per second for almost 3 days straight after Wrights review. According to The Grio, “At the end of November, the pies were the most-requested item across all ‘Walmart Wish Lists.'”
Wright’s review, which was posted on YouTube, went viral with millions of views and many copycats. The Grio was able to get an interview with the pie-loving endorser and they talked pie. “I feel that it’s awesome. I’m glad that they gave me the credit and said that I was responsible for it,” Wright said. When asked about compensation, the story went cold. Wright says that he has not made any profit from his new-found celebrity status, or for the help he provided to Walmart, albeit by accident.
“No I’m not profiting yet, but I claim it I will be. I claim it,” he said. “You’ve got it claim it or you’re not going to receive it… No, I ain’t got no check. I just feel that God will use you to bless other people, and feel that’s what he did.”
While Wright may not have made any money, Walmart sure did, and they will likely make a lot more. Doug McMillion, Walmart CEO posted on Instagram ” They’re back! Starting today and over the next two weeks, new shipments of#PattiPie arrive in stores nationwide. Big shout out to @mspattilabelle, @jameswrightchanel and @kthomas1908, who helped bring this great item back to stores!”
He said that it took almost 2 million pounds of sweet potatoes to get the pies back into the stores in time for Christmas. McMillion says that due to the popularity of the pie, it will now be available year round.
Wright did get to meet his inspiration and even got to cook with her. According to The Grio, Wright “will appear on the Cooking Channel alongside LaBelle in a holiday food special.” The special is set to air on December 16. Wright is reported to be on cloud nine over his chance to interact with his culinary and musical hero.
“We’re cooking pies… different types of pies for the holidays,” Wright said. “It was a lot of fun on set. Laughing, singing, and even a segment with crying.”