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Patti LaBelle on Her Republican Nephew: ‘I Didn’t Choose My Family’

It’s a no-no from me. Photo: Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Miss Patti LaBelle cooks like your favorite auntie and sings your favorite auntie’s music, so it’s safe to assume she also takes no nonsense. The iconic vocalist had to contend with the foolishness her nephew and adopted son Byl Holte got up to on Twitter in her new O Magazine profile. You’ll probably recall the whirlwind internet investigation that took place ahead of Thanksgiving when a white Republican congressional candidate, Dean Browning, tweeted about being a “Black gay guy” who “can personally say Obama did nothing for me.” The internet thought he meant it for his sock-puppet account, but Browning explained that he’d accidentally pasted a message from a supporter who turned out to be Byl Holte, a self-described “anti-feminist.” Holte later posted a video defending Browning and the message he sent.

LaBelle, a longtime Obama supporter, takes the high road when it comes to political disagreements with family. “Guess what? I didn’t choose my family. I choose my friends,” she told O. “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.” Just before the interview, she spoke to him on the phone. “He was saying, ‘I love you and I’m so sorry,’” she said. “You give people chances, when sometimes, they don’t even know what they’re doing or why. 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.” As if she wasn’t already an inspiration, these words of peace and goodwill are exactly what families needed this Zoom holiday season.

Patti LaBelle on Her Son-phew: ‘I Didn’t Choose My Family’