Back in November, Patti LaBelle’s name was wrapped up in a strange bout of Twitter drama after Dean Browning, a white Republican congressional candidate, tweeted out a message about being a “Black gay guy” who “can personally say Obama did nothing for me.”
After Internet-wide confusion, Browning explained that he had copied and pasted the message from a supporter, which happened to be Byl Holte, LaBelle’s nephew and adopted son.
LaBelle, who is a Democrat and a fervent Obama supporter, chatted with OprahMag.com about the experience, and how she deals with political strife within the family. “Guess what? I didn’t choose my family. I choose my friends,” she told the publication. “I love Billy. He has a Republican mind. And, guess what? I don’t. But do I hate him for having the mind that he has? No, I can’t.”
She added that they recently spoke on the phone. “He was saying, ‘I love you and I’m so sorry.’ You give people chances, when sometimes, they don’t even know what they’re doing or why,” she explained. “So I can’t beat him up for the rest of his life. I decided to take the high road with him by letting him know that you make mistakes—but when my name comes in that mistake, that’s a no-no. Certain things happen in life, and I just keep going on, because I love him.”
While LaBelle forgave Holte, she shared that she can be tough — especially when her alter-ego Priscilla comes out. “I am a Gemini, I have so many personalities,” she joked. “I never know when she’s going to show up and show out, and a lot of times, she shows out—and then, the next day, I feel bad for the person who had to deal with Priscilla, because she’s a witch with a capital B, and I can’t help it.”