Should We Be Taking Advice From Iyanla Vanzant?

March 1, 2012  |  

According to Shadow and Act, author, Yoruba princess and spiritual life coach Iyanla Vanzant will be getting her own show courtesy of her old employer turned ex-employer turned employer again, Oprah Winfrey.

The show will be a self-help oriented program reportedly titled, “Iyanla Fix My Life,” and while there is no official airdate, it is said to have been in development for a while now.  Of course, this show will mark, in a very big way, not only a return to television for Iyanla, who previously had the Barbara Walters produced Iyanla show and was a featured life coach on the short lived but popular Starting Over reality show, but also will solidify that Winfrey and Vanzant are indeed BFFs again.

I think most folks saw this coming. After her much publicized grovel fest on the last season the Oprah Show last year and her most recent appearance on a recent episode of Oprah’s Life Classes, we knew then that it was only a matter of time. Likewise, it’s clear that this is an equally beneficial relationship. Winfrey gets a nice boost in ratings among the black woman crowd and Vanzant gets a second chances at the career she squandered away.

If Oprah was the queen of daytime talk, then Iyanla was going to be the mistress.  She was on the fast track, along with other Oprah regulars like Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz, to pump a whole bunch of Love Yourself/Save Yourself/Take Responsibility for You television, which Oprah was working to build a brand upon. In fact, it wasn’t uncommon for Winfrey to take a back seat to her own show and turn the stage over to Vanzant, who would lecture a room full of women about the virtues of letting go of anger and overcoming adversity. At the height of her success, she made over $3 million dollars, a large part of it as a result of the platform she was given on the Oprah Winfrey show.

Last night, I re-watched the now infamous Winfrey/Vanzant reconciliation show again. Oprah said that she invited Vanzant on to explain why their relationship went south.  According to Vanzant, things fell apart when she received an offer from Barbara Walters for the creation of the show.  Although she had been a regular guest on the Oprah show for over a year and had commitments for a development deal with Harpo Production in the future, Vanzant said that she wasn’t sure where she stood with the Queen of Talk. So she held a meeting with Oprah and staff, and said something to the likes that someone big had offered her a show. When Winfrey told Vanzant that they were not ready at the time to produce a show, Vanzant said that she had fasted and prayed over the decision and that God told her “this is the anointed time not the appointed time. ” Who knew that God sounded a lot like Jesse Jackson?

Anyway, Winfrey told her during the show that she assumed Vanzant had made her decision to go with the unnamed “something big” to develop her show and the next day, sent her a letter wishing her well with her future ventures. Because in the words of Winfrey, “If you don’t want me, you’re free to go.”

Now this could be chalked up to a miscommunication however you have to wonder why Vanzant never called her back to explain where the lines of communication (particularly defining what anointed/appointed time meant) got crossed. Instead she went on her way with her  $1 million dollar deal with Walters, who eventually tanked her career.  In fact, during the show, she never really owned up to how her own ego got into the way of having a successful career. I was waiting for her just to say, “Look Oprah, I gambled. I wanted my own show and was a bit big headed, but I misjudged in thinking that giving you an ultimatum was the way to get that. And because of it, I lost. Foolish me.”  In her own much given advice: own it and move on. Instead, I watched an hour of Vanzant fast-talking in circles, denying cupability and levying accusations like, “I thought you just wanted the work, I didn’t think you wanted me.”

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