James Wright Chanel hasn’t received a check for his Patti’s Pies endorsement, but Wal-Mart sure is getting paid.
James is the reigning viral sensation of the season, thanks to a video of him tasting Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pies.
The video, which he published to YouTube, has racked up millions of views on social media and spawned several copycat versions.
LaBelle’s pies are now big business for Wal-Mart. In fact, the retail store sold one pie per second for 72 hours straight after James’ video went viral. At the end of November, the pies were the most-requested item across all “Wal-Mart Wish Lists.”
Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon said in an Instagram post on Tuesday that Wal-Mart began delivering new shipments of the Patti LaBelle Sweet Potato Pie, and the pies will now be sold year-round at stores across the country.
“It took about 2 million pounds of California-grown sweet potatoes to deliver this Christmas miracle,” John Forrest Ales, Director of Corporate Communications at Wal-Mart, said in an email.
In an interview with theGrio, James opened up about Patti Pie mania and the impact he’s had on Wal-Mart’s revenue.
“I feel that it’s awesome. I’m glad that they gave me the credit and said that I was responsible for it,” James said. “I just feel that God will use you to bless other people, and feel that’s what he did.”
When asked if he’s received a check or payment from Wal-Mart or LaBelle after his enthusiastic review of Patti’s Pies, James says he’s hasn’t made a profit.
“No I’m not profiting yet, but I claim it I will be. I claim it,” he said. “You’ve got it claim it or you’re not going to receive it… No I ain’t got no check.'”
Dec. 16 James will appear on the Cooking Channel alongside LaBelle in a holiday food special. James said he had a ball taping with Ms. Patti.
“We’re cooking pies… different types of pies for the holidays,” he said. “It was a lot of fun on set. Laughing, singing, and a even segment with crying.”
James later discussed his aspirations as a singer and possible plans to launch his own retail food product.
Follow theGrio.com’s Entertainment Editor Chris Witherspoon on Twitter @WitherspoonC.