James Wright Chanel was once an unknown vlogger who simply recorded YouTube videos to entertain his friends. Some people don’t know just how valuable they truly are! With his imposing figure and unfiltered personality, Chanel’s talent hit viewers like a colorful, flamboyant bomb. Belting out soulful classics with his powerhouse vocals and making people laugh with his sharp, quick-wit, it is no wonder that this young man won the hearts of over 10 million within a matter of three days on social media.
Chanel was not looking to make a dime on his YouTube video where he tasted r&b legend Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pie for the first time. He went to his local Walmart and purchased five of LaBelle’s pies. Chanel set up a camera in his kitchen wearing a sparkling jeweled baseball cap. Anyone watching the recording die laughing as he struggled to open the box to the pie, asking LaBelle through the camera lens if she used gorilla glue to seal the box. He finally gets into the box. Showcasing the pretty coloring of the pie, Chanel holds LaBelle’s masterpiece towards the camera for his friends to see the beautiful presentation. He screams out LaBelle’s name with delight as he slices into the moistness. By this time, every viewer is captivated with Chanel.
He takes a bite into the pie and shocks the world with his rendition of his favorite vocalist. Hitting her famous high notes, soaring above the rafters, Chanel sends chills through anyone with a soul. “You’ll turn into Patti after eating this!” His vulgar language went unnoticed because the world witnessed him being in the moment, expressing himself. He continues to sing more LaBelle hits and even breaks into one of her dances across his kitchen floor she is famous for performing on stage. The three-minute video review of a sweet potato pie that was meant for his inner circle’s enjoyment turned Chanel into an overnight success around the world.
LaBelle is not only famous for her iconic music career for the past 40 plus years, but she is also known for her best-selling cookbooks. However, LaBelle fans were clueless that LaBelle had a line of sweet potato pies at Walmart. Walmart did not have any promotion or signs directing their customers to LaBelle’s pies. When Chanel’s video went viral, Walmart sold out of LaBelle’s sweet potato pies within three days. A LaBelle pie could not be found around the country. When a customer called up a Walmart inquiring about the pie, they were told there would not be anymore pies in stock until some time in December. Pies started selling on Ebay for thousands of dollars. Chanel’s video review of this famous pie earned Walmart and LaBelle an astonishing $2.3 million within three days.
The unfortunate side to this social media phenomenon was when the r&b diva told a TMZ reporter that her pies were selling out prior to Chanel’s video and that she was responsible for the $2.3 million sales. Many of LaBelle’s fans, along with the TMZ reporter, were taken back by her ego. Coming off like a glory hog, LaBelle demonstrated she did not want to give this unknown talent five seconds to shine in her spotlight. The media ran with the story until LaBelle finally had to come to her senses and give Chanel his credit. Whether it was LaBelle on her own or maybe her publicist, she realized the diva act does not work off-stage as well as it does on stage.
LaBelle graciously invited Chanel to her home for Thanksgiving dinner to thank him for boosting her pie sales through the roof. Though many believe she should have given him a percentage of that $2.3 million, Chanel reminded the public he never did it to get money from LaBelle. Chanel said he really loves his idol, he loves her pie, and now the world is loving him. Appearing on every talk show, Chanel is in demand with a budding music career on the horizon. The power of video blogging…who knew?