Singers Aretha Franklin and Patti LaBelle long had been rumored to have a pretty disharmonious relationship — though both have denied it.
But the “New Attitude” singer’s moving tribute to the late “Queen of Soul,” who died on Thursday at age 76, shows nothing but respect.
“I am deeply saddened about the passing of the Queen of Soul and my sister in song, Aretha Franklin,” LaBelle said in a statement on Twitter. She termed Franklin “a rare treasure whose unmatched musical genius helped craft the soundtrack to the lives of so many.”
Some of the women’s words and actions toward one another raised some brows over the decades.
Most notably, Franklin appeared to snub LaBelle at the Women of Soul concert at the White House in 2014 by refusing to shake LaBelle’s hand when she offered it.
LaBelle later downplayed the incident to Andy Cohen on “Watch What Happens Live.” She insisted that she “didn’t see” the apparent snub and ― despite the video of it ― that the lady Franklin brushed by “wasn’t me.”
“I don’t know who the lady was,” LaBelle told Cohen. “I just know she had on a green coat.”
The same year, Franklin said, “Patti and I are cool and we always have been,” in response to a false story claiming that the pair physically brawled.
Still, even as both songstresses publicly stressed that they did not have a feud, some pointed to evidence of a rivalry extending beyond the music industry. In 2016, Franklin announced she was launching her own food line following the success of LaBelle’s sold-out sweet potato pies at Walmart, saying “Ms. Patti’s gonna have to move that pie to the side!”
Again, both women denied a rivalry. LaBelle, 74, told Hotspots Magazine in 2017 that “I haven’t had beef with anyone.”
“I’m not gonna be pitted against any lady in this industry.”