Who IS James Wright Chanel, aka The Patti Pie guy from L.A. Hair?
Some might describe him as a larger than life funny man whose delivers palpable affection. Others on Season 5 of WEtv’s L.A. Hair may find him to be an overpowering presence.
L.A. Hair is a rocket ride of a show with his boss, hair queen Kim Kimble, a veteran of fashion bibles like vanity Fair and Vogue. She has also worked on high profile films like Dream Girls and with stars such as Halle Berry, Kerry Washington, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé.
One thing is for certain, James Wright knows how to pick powerful and talented women to charm and dazzle, after landing his new role after Kim selected him to join her L.A. Hair crack crew.
James says in the promo: “I do it all.” And he’s not lying, as this multi-hyphenate larger-than-life personality is a stylist, singer, rapper, stripper, chef, AND a comedian.
Undoubtedly he is the wild card in this season of the show, set in the high-stakes fashion and beauty game centered around the lucrative entertainment industry.
But who is he? According to his bio, James practically came out of the baby nursery singing, before honing his pipes in the Washington Preparatory high school choir.
As a singer he put on shows and events in his area and eventually earned a spot doing background singing for pop megastars like Nicki Minaj, Mario, Chrisette Michele, and ToTo. He also sang on stage with Braxton Family Values’ Tamar Braxton.
But his path to fame went into hyperdrive when his YouTube review of Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie went viral in November 2015.
In it he urges watchers to buy the pies and to support black businesses, saying: “Shout out to Patti LaBelle! Patti LaBelle can cook!” He then tries to open the pie package, saying: “This motherf****** is hard to get into!” before breaking into song and saying: “You’ll turn into Patti after eatin’ this!”
His video was so entertaining that Patti used his impressive singing talents to land a sweet gig co-hosting a Cooking Channel December 2015 special titled Patti LaBelle’s Holiday Pies.
James absolutely delighted the singing legend, who hugged him like long lost family, urged him to sing to her while she cooked, and asked him what “getting krump” means.
James earnestly closed the special telling Patti his feelings for her, that she always “keeps it real” and how much her music meant to him as he grew up, making the legend cry on camera. These two need their own show!
Kim Kimble, who is expanding her haircare line to include a new wig and extension bar, is a supreme talent spotter, and wanted those wigs to fly off the shelf just like Patti’s hard-to-find pies.
Enter James, whose YouTube efforts helped to sell millions (2.5!) of those delicious pies much to Patti’s delight!
James was hired by Kim in 2016 in the hope that his marketing and endorsement magic will help sell more Kimble Hair Care Systems and wigs and hair extensions.
He is also still singing. His iTunes hit Sometimes Love is a heartbreak saga where he sings over the dramatic scene of a woman discovering her man is cheating on her.
Outside of his TV endeavors, James is also an HIV/AIDS activist supporter — and he appeared on stage with Patti at an event in Hollywood promoting awareness and honoring legendary entertainer Harry Belafonte in November 2016.
All of James’s videos paint him to be a passionate, talented and fun person who throws his love for things hard, giving his personality plus magic to projects and products that trips his trigger. You definitely want him on your team.
“I’m from the ‘hood, and I’m not afraid to punch,” cheekily warns James Wright in his sizzle video as he meets Kim’s crew.
It looks like James could truly be Kim’s secret ratings weapon. Monsters and Critics spoke to him to find out more about the rising star.
Monsters and Critics: Hi James! L.A. Hair shows you as being larger than life. Has this caused any real friction with your fellow Kimpire crew, or is that just manufactured for the camera? Is there someone in the Kimpire you just cannot deal with?
James Wright Chanel: Hi April, how are you? Yes, In real life I am and have always been larger than life, it’s not for the cameras — it’s just me.
Me being a part of the Kim Kimble Empire has not caused any friction between me or any of the other cast members because I’m always that same loving person, so one thing you always get from me is love and realness.
There’s not really anyone who’s part of the Kimpire that I can’t deal with. I pretty much love each and every one of the cast members as an individual and for who they are, what they bring and what they represent because each person has a wonderful gift.
M&C: Nice to hear. How did Kim find you?
JWC: I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…yeah, that’s something you’re going to have to wait for on this season, it’s interesting how we connected.
M&C: Where is your heart?
JWC: My heart is and will always be in the hands of God, that is how I’m able to do the things that I love like singing, cooking, being creative, acting, dancing and just being James.
M&C: You seemed so perfect with Patti LaBelle cooking and you are a natural fit. It also appears from your Instagram that you love to cook! You are also an amazing singer, and are 100 per cent a natural for TV — where do YOU want to be eventually?
JWC: Mama Patti and I have such a beautiful relationship that no one could ever replace or change…she’s so awesome and so great to me and I’m so awesome and great to her and it’s nothing but love when it comes to us and it was like love at first sight.
Yes, I love to cook, I love to sing, I love the smiles on people’s faces and I always keep it 100 per cent each and every day. Like I said earlier on, all you get from James is nothing but realness.
I believe that I am a natural for TV because my life is like a real life reality show. I love making people feel love, joy and even shed a tear or two from laughing through whatever they are going through. I see myself with my own TV show, cooking show, my own album and much much more.
M&C: You are a masterful marketing genius. If you were to make and market something — food, clothing, beauty product — what would it be?
JWC: Yes, I am considered the masterful marketing guy, or should I say “marketing genius”. If I were to market anything I think I would market EVERYTHING I could possibly market because at the end of the day there’s something to be sold or there’s something to be promoted worldwide.
So when it comes to promotions and marketing as you already know… James Wright Chanel is your man with selling 2.5 million pies in two days and over $11million made in pie sales. Honey, you do the math! My promotions and marketing skills… it’s like a match made in heaven [laughs]!
L.A. Hair airs Thursdays on WEtv at 9/8 PM