In 1989 Patti LaBelle recorded the single "If You Asked Me To." It peaked at #79 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Three years later, Celine Dion's rendition of the same song reached #4 on the same chart. Why? "Because she's a white girl," LaBelle said.
The Canadian Press is reporting that LaBelle told the online magazine MonacoRevue.com that racism in the music industry is the reason Celine Dion's version of the single did better on the charts.
The rhythm and blues legend said watching her friend and fellow superstar Dion climb the charts with a song she recorded first was one of the biggest obstacles of her career.
"Why do I think Céline had the sales and I didn't? Because she's a white girl," LaBelle said.
"People pay more respect to white artists who sing well before they do black women," she continued.
"I've been singing for 45 years and that's an obstacle that I'm still...I'm getting over it because I'm fabulous. You know, so you can't beat me up. You can't make me feel less than I am because whenever I get the microphone I'm gonna show you who I am. But the industry is very racist."
At least she still thinks she's fabulous.
You can read the full question and answer piece from MonacoRevue.com here.
LaBelle made sure that her comments weren't a knock against her friend Celine Dion. They both have had long and outstanding careers, and LaBelle said she is happy and grateful for her success.
At the World Music Awards earlier this month in Monaco, both LaBelle and Dion were honoured with career achievement awards.
What do you think? Is the music industry racist? Does it favour white singers over black singers?