Patti LaBelle’s Diva Rant And The Reality Of Parents Who Let Their Kids Run Wild

September 10, 2012  |  

My mother has been a super fan of Patti LaBelle for years. Before there were “stans,” there was my mom. If you just happen to be listening to music on your computer, she’ll ask you to pull up and play “On My Own.” Try and do a tribute to the singer (a la BET), and my mom turns up her face at all the singers trying to “do” Patti: “Nobody can sing a song like Patti!”

This type of love and following has made LaBelle pretty huge over her long career, and of course, somewhat of a diva. But there’s nothing wrong with a little diva-tude, right?

Wrong.

Allegedly, it was that diva-sized attitude that caused the singer to snap off on New Yorker, Roseanna Monk, and her then 18-month-old daughter, Genevieve, at the Trump Place in Manhattan in 2010. After little Genevieve was spotted by the singer “innocently” running around the lobby, according to reports, LaBelle wasn’t having it. She cursed out Monk, and her rant was enough to freak out both mother and child (and the water LaBelle threw on Monk didn’t help either). Allegedly, the child went from crying hysterically to vomiting, possibly out of fear. After the incident happened, the little girl supposedly had a change in her behavior for a few months.

I heard about this story, and the lawsuit that came as a result of LaBelle’s behavior. But this morning, while moving around and cleaning up, I saw Roseanna Monk, her husband, and her daughter Genevieve on “Inside Edition,” talking about everything that had transpired. According to Monk, she had no clue who was yelling at her and her daughter, but her husband found out and told her that it was LaBelle. The family was surprised that it was the famous singer, and decided that taking legal action would be the next best step (aka, they said “CHA CHING!”). In the end, though LaBelle initially denied that she verbally attacked Monk and her daughter, instead of going to court, the singer recently decided to settle on the whole thing for a reported $100,000. The family says they plan on giving the money to charity.

Watching the Monks on TV, and thinking about the diva-esque antics that many celebrities get accused of, I felt kind of bad. If what LaBelle was accused of was true, she was definitely way out of line and out of order for her behavior. It’s one thing to say something to someone about their children, but it’s another to curse them out until the cows come home (and throw water at that). But after taking everything in, I couldn’t help but think of the many times I’ve watched parents let their children run around and not pay attention to what they’re doing.  What would be the end result? Making complete strangers responsible for keeping these kids from falling, breaking something, or hurting someone else. As horrid as LaBelle’s alleged behavior might have been, the struggle to remain calm, cool and collected when parents let their kids go Tazmanian devil wild in public is real.

From personal experience, I’ve stood in lines and watched little kids stand up on the front basket of rolling carts in grocery stores, watched children run around and knock down clothes in stores, and seen children playing tag in a church while people were up front during service seeking prayer and comfort from a pastor. Wild, indeed. In the latter situation, it took the pastor to put attention on the fact that the children were acting a fool (“I need these children to play after service”), and when he did, it was a stranger, not their mother or guardian (he/she might have been up front with other members), who turned around, grabbed a child who didn’t hear the memo, and abruptly told her to “SIT DOWN!”

According to some, it’s not a stranger’s place to get someone in check about their children, or to check someone else’s child for that matter. But these days, it’s becoming necessary for the sake of the kid. When working in retail, I saw many children pump slippery sample lotion onto the floor (a danger to them and others), stand 0n open drawers and try and get atop fake dog decorations (thinking they were riding horses maybe?), all objects that weren’t stable in the least. I would wait for a second in the hopes that the mother busy looking for a deal would take her head out of the clearance rack from across the room, and come get her kids. When she wouldn’t, I would feel so inclined to say something, especially when I could smell a possible lawsuit looming in the horizons if I kept my mouth shut: “HEY! Uh uh. You need to get down off of that.” Only when others would look (some relieved that somebody got these children together) would a mother come, angry, tugging at her child’s arm for acting a fool and looking crazy at me for setting them straight. I would feel a little bad, but at the same time, in the back of my mind I would think of the possibility of a child getting hurt because their parent decided that keeping an eye on their child wasn’t 100 percent necessary during a big sale.

I don’t condone or make excuses for LaBelle’s alleged behavior in any way, but how many of us can knowingly say that we’ve been there? Maybe not in screeching, water-throwing form, but you get what I mean. You know the moment: ready to give someone a piece of your mind because they allow their child to think any and everywhere can be a playground. Luckily for us, we don’t have $100,000 to waste on strangers, so we take our two cents, in a more calm and sometimes even playful manner, to the child. As much as people don’t want others trying to tell them how to take care of their kids, there’s just too many people out here trying to push the cruise control button when it comes to getting children together, therefore, sometimes you have to step up and step in. As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child,” but at some point, mommy and daddy have to get it together now don’t they?

If you don’t want crazy people like Patti LaBelle (no shade Patti, I’m just trying to drive my point home) getting at you about your unsupervised child, then it would be best if you kept an eye on them. That is, for the sake of their own safety, other people’s safety and everyone’s sanity.

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