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Patti LaBelle Slams Today’s Divas as “Little Heifers Who Can’t Sing”

Patti Labelle performs at Caesars Atlantic City on January 10, 2014
Patti LaBelle says she doesn't want to be called a diva anymore because the word is now used to describe "little heifers who can't sing"

Don't use the D-word around Patti LaBelle. The two-time Grammy winner and 2003 Grammy Hall of Fame inductee had some interesting things to say about what it means to be a diva these days — and why she doesn't want to associate herself with that label anymore.

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"That word is used so loosely that I don't even consider myself a diva," the 69-year-old singer said in an interview with PrideSource. "I always considered myself a woman who sings her heart out and who gives 120 percent. 'Diva' is a word that I wouldn't wanna call myself because it's so loosely used. It's not cute anymore." 

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Asked whether there's negative connotation to it now, she replied, "Yeah, because all these little heifers who can't sing are called divas! It doesn't mean anything to me and probably to some of the other ladies who have been doing it for as long as I have: Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick. You know, I'm speaking for me — I don't know if they like to be called divas — but I know I wouldn't call them divas, because it's not in good company."

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LaBelle went on to note that being called a "diva" used to mean something — but no longer. It was respectable "for opera singers and for ladies who earned it, but that was way, way back when," she told PrideSource. "Now you can look up to them, but you might not see what you wanna see. A hot mess! People who are doing it and doing it with about 40 people onstage with them to hide their pitifulness — that's not a word, but you know what I mean."

The "Lady Marmalade" singer is currently working on a new jazz CD to be released later this year. She's also doing a dance album and an album of ballads, she revealed.

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