All Articles Tagged "Iyanla Vanzant"
On August 5th, 2014, 22-year old John Crawford III was shot to death by Beavercreek police officer Sean Williams. His crime was walking around a Walmart store near Dayton, Ohio, with a toy BB gun he had hoped to purchase. In spite of the unprovoked shooting, which was caught on tape, and Ohio being an open-carry state, his killer was not indicted for his death.
On November 22 2014, 12 year-old Tamir Rice, was also shot to death by Cleveland police officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback for “brandishing” a toy gun. His murder, which was also caught on camera, happened within a mere two seconds after the police officers arrived on the scene. Although Rice would not be laid to rest in the six months after his death and his mother had to moved into a homeless shelter because she couldn’t afford both housing and the cost associated with the two criminal and civil investigations into his death, his killers too have yet to be brought to justice.
After a month-long trial, a judge found Cleveland officer Michael Brelo not guilty Saturday of two counts of felony voluntary manslaughter in the shooting deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. According to published reports, Russell and Williams were killed on Nov. 29, 2012, after leading 62 police vehicles on a chase across the city in a Chevrolet Malibu. When the pair finally surrendered, more than a dozen police officers pumped more than 137 rounds into the vehicle for reasons unknown. This included Officer Brelo, who climbed onto the hood of the Malibu and shot 15 rounds into the windshield. Despite the sheer overkill, Cuyahoga County Commons Pleas Judge John P. O’Donnell said in his ruling, “The state did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant Michael Brelo knowingly caused the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, because the essential element of causation was not proved for both counts.”
And earlier this week, the Justice Department reached a settlement with the city of Cleveland, that would require its police force to “reform their behavior,” including barring them from using retaliatory violence and requiring it to invest in “training in tactics for de-escalation.” According to The Atlantic, the settlement comes six months after an investigation into Cleveland PD, which found that “there is reasonable cause to believe that CDP engages in a pattern or practice of using unreasonable force in violation of the Fourth Amendment.”
And yet, Iyanla Vanzant, and all of her healing magical powers and roots, is nowhere to be found.
She will be in Baltimore though.
According to The Root, the mud cloth and knee-high, kitten heel, boot-wearing Yoruba goddess will be one of several “spiritual leaders” heading up a “healing over Baltimore” in response to the recent riots after the police killing of Freddie Gray. The event is in partnership with famed Baltimore Pastor Jamal “There Some Hoes In this House” Bryant, who last year drew the ire of the entire Black Internet for his passionate sermon entitled “These Hoes Ain’t Loyal.” And Jesus wept…
While a representative from the OWN network told The Root that Vanzant’s appearance will not be part of her popular talk series on OWN, where she pretends to fix people’s lives but really she is just meddling for ratings, Bryant tells the Baltimore Sun that she will be taping three sessions at Bryant’s West Baltimore’s Empowerment Temple Church. And that Vanzant volunteered to host the three-day event, which will be divided by gender before a community-wide “healing.” Moreover, he tells the paper that the overall goal of the event “will be a sort of group therapy for people to discuss economic oppression and violence, among other issues.”
I don’t know about healing, but I definitely foresee lots of cutting people off mid-emotional sentence and hugging, a la Oprah Winfrey in The Women of Brewster’s Place, happening during this group therapy session.
I also foresee Vanzant’s planned visit being reminiscent of her previous televised healing she did in Ferguson. There, she sat down with townsfolk and yelled at them about how “we” need to “stand down and hold the peace” for 14 days while the police conduct their investigation into themselves. As reported by the Washington Post, she also told Ferguson: “We need to do better. We need to be better and understand why this keeps happening over and over and over. It’s clear we need another way to express our hurt and suffering.” And in the most egregious moment of the program, she made Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson and Mike Brown’s uncle hold hands across a table to “resolve the larger problems of the town.”
In spite of all of her conjuring in Ferguson, Mike Brown’s killer was found not guilty. So what exactly does she plan to “heal” in Baltimore?
In addition to going in on the community, by gender, about how we need to fix ourselves, will she also use her mystic powers on Baltimore law enforcement agency, which has paid out over $5 million to victims of police brutality in a four-year period? Or will she get on her magical broom and shoot over to Wells Fargo where its redlining and predatory lending of black communities resulted in hundreds of city residents receiving “thousands of dollars each under a landmark $175 million settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and Wells Fargo over accusations of discriminatory lending practices.” Or will she use her enchanted pot to mix up some jobs for the 37 percent of young Black men who remain unemployed in the city?
Or will she just blame the community, like so many others do when they want to bury their heads in the sand to the brutality, as well as the socioeconomic structural conditions, which ensure the dissolution of the same families that the Black upper privileged class likes to tout as the solution to all of our problems?
Vanzant is not to blame for the riots. But I know victim-blaming and white washing over the poo-poo covered elephant in the room when I smell it. As a former community organizer in Philadelphia, who had her boots on the ground everyday, there was no shortage of preachers, activists and “healers” who liked to come out and give big grandiose speeches and otherwise make spectacles of themselves (and us) when a community issue caught the attention of the media, but were absent from the struggle when the real work of fixing things began. Sorry to say (no I’m not), but Vanzant and all of her remedial mumbo-jumbo is no different.
And it should come as no surprise that she, and all the other spiritual gurus who are coming out of the woodwork now to offer their salvation (just like they did in Ferguson), weren’t too worried about handing out one-sided, half-assed healing over Baltimore until the Black, brown and poor got tired of being disenfranchised, maligned, ignored and murdered and started burning sh!t down. No, this is not about healing anything, but rather gratuitous self-promotion at the expense of the poor and the Black bodies. And I’m sorry if this all seems harsh to some folks, but it is high-time we start calling it what it is. For the sake of the people.
If Vanzant is truly here for the healing, she should start handing out her spells, cowry shells and free hugs to the politicians, the police and the black leaders who have meekly sold out the next generation for a few opportunistic scrapes off the table of oppression. And tell them to do better fixing the institutionalized violence against us. Or better yet, she should go someplace which is in desperate need of love, heal and got-damn attention. Like Ohio…
In Greek mythology, a Phoenix is an immortal bird that’s cyclically regenerated and reborn. In honor of this inspiring bird, we’ve collected a list of seven women who rose from struggle to success and continually reinvent themselves. We can all take a page from their stories to learn how to turn our greatest tragedies into our greatest strengths.
In 2014, a girl named Saa (a pseudonym to protect her family back home) jumped from a truck in Nigeria, escaping from the Islamist militant group Boko Haram. Saa was one of hundreds of girls abducted from a Nigerian boarding school. Since her harrowing escape, Saa has been hard at work in Washington, D.C. ensuring that public awareness of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign doesn’t falter. Many are calling Saa the “Malala of Africa” as she continues to call for international intervention for her 219 peers still in captivity by Boko Haram. Currently, Saa, one of four escaped school girls, is attending a small Christian school outside of the Washington area as she continues to speak out regarding her hellish experience.
Born in Brooklyn, Iyanla Vanzant’s alcoholic mother gave birth to her in the back of a taxi cab. At the age of nine, Vanzant was sexually molested by an uncle and at 16 she became a teenage mother herself. When Vanzant turned 21, she found herself a mother of three with a physically abusive husband. After escaping her abusive home life, Vanzant raised her kids on public assistance until going to school to study law. Vanzant later left the legal world and gradually grew into a career as a writer and inspirational public speaker, attracting the likes of Oprah Winfrey. And yet, in 2002, her canceled talk show seemed to spark a great deal of loss: the loss of her home, marriage and multimillion-dollar book deals. Through all her tragedy, including the loss of her daughter to cancer, Vanzant has rebuilt her empire and continues to share her strength and message as a minister, life coach and television personality on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
While watching the interview between Iyanla Vanzant and Karrueche Tran last night, I got this familiar feeling. It was hard to pinpoint at first, but as I hung onto every word, every question, every answer that was presented in the interview, I no longer felt like I was watching someone else’s life story play out on TV – I was in a counseling session of my own.
As Iyanla pointed out to Karrueche in the beginning of their discussion, Karrueche’s story isn’t exclusive to just her…or even just women in her age range. While it may seem that women in their 20’s are the only ones who make certain decisions when it comes to relationships, a grown woman such as myself has made the same mistakes well into her 30’s and beyond. Staying in emotionally and mentally abusive relationships way longer than we should was something I could totally relate to, and as I watched Karrueche search her mind to understand why she did it, all I could do is see myself in her eyes. She wanted to be heard, but she also didn’t want to be judged. But when you’re in a situation that you know is unhealthy, there is no “good” answer you can give as to why you stayed that doesn’t involve coming to the conclusion that you are broken somewhere inside…and that’s hard to face.
Emotional abuse can be hard to quantify, whereas physical abuse can show an obvious line in the sand. And even when physical abuse is involved, it’s still difficult for some women to leave out of fear. So imagine trying to justify staying when it’s “only” emotional abuse…so far as we could tell anyway. I don’t recall Iyanla asking Karrueche if Chris ever laid a hand on her, but I do recall her asking if she knew about his past with regard to the physical violence against Rihanna. Most of us would say that we’d never date someone who we knew beat up another woman. But like most women, Karrueche thought she’d be the one to change him. She said she wanted to love him, because that’s what he needed. She wanted to love him into being a better person and she felt like a fool when loving him wasn’t enough.
I know, because I’ve done that myself. We think if we love him hard enough, he’ll see “the light.” If we provide a good example of what love is, he’ll have no choice but to love us back the same way in return. And when that doesn’t work, we love harder. We fight to stay with someone who is doing nothing to keep us. And then the dysfunctional attachment becomes “normal” to us until we either wake up and come to the realization that no amount of love can “save” him, or we hit rock bottom within our own soul that we now have to save ourselves.
While I cannot imagine living out such drama publicly as Karrueche has with her relationship, I found myself wishing last night that I had the public scrutiny, gossip and even ridicule she has endured in order to force me to leave sooner. So many women suffer emotional (and physical) abuse in silence for fear of being judged by those close to them. They keep it a secret because they know deep down inside they’re not ready to remedy their situation, so rather than listening to friends and family wonder why you’d stay in a situation like that, you hold on to your pain and shame in silence. It wasn’t until I told my sister and best friend of the abuse that I suffered that I knew I was ready to actually do something about it. I knew they’d support me and hold me accountable. And a weight had been lifted. Hopefully Karrueche feels free as well.
While I’m no therapist or life coach, I felt like even in the midst of all her pain, Karrueche was still trying to protect Chris Brown. I felt like Rihanna did the same when she finally spoke out about her abuse. That is what we women (and some men) tend to do…nurture, protect and be loyal to the very men who hurt us but claim to love us. We want to believe that what they actually feel for us IS love. But while our abusers may love us the only way they know how, you have to come to the conclusion that anything that feels less than love is not good enough. Love shouldn’t feel disrespectful, fearful, belittling, humiliating, retaliatory or physically painful. Love is supposed to make you feel good and build you up, not bad and tear you down. My prayer for myself, Karrueche and all the women who have suffered – and are suffering now – with emotional abuse is that we find the strength to face our situation head on and finally choose to love ourselves enough to leave…for good.
Oprah and OWN are determined to dominate the ratings this year. Now that the network has pinpointed exactly what it is viewers want to see, they’re on a roll.
This September the network is sticking to the formula and reuniting with Jay Williams. For those who don’t remember, Williams is the man with 34 children by 17 different women. Iyanla sat down with him and several mothers of his children for one of her “Fix My Life” shows.
According to Variety, this time around Jay, of Atlanta, will have his own show where he will try to mend the relationships with his family, children and mothers of his children. Iyanla will be helping to guide him along the way.
While Jay certainly needs to “do the work,” to borrow a phrase from Iyanla, I do wonder if all of this fame and recognition is going to his head.
At the same time, with his track record, full of irresponsibility, it’s doubtful that Jay would attempt to repair these relationships without the cameras around.
I still don’t believe Iyanla is to blame, particularly when Jay is ultimately the only person who can hold himself accountable. But I do get the sense that he’s more interested in being seen than he is in repairing and rebuilding the relationships he’s broken.
What do you think about Jay getting his own show? Is it more hurtful than helpful?
We’re all waiting anxiously for this Saturday when OWN airs the highly anticipated interview with Iyanla Vanzant and Karrueche Tran. And though we’ll have to be patient, Iyanla Vanzant recently spoke to Sister2Sister about the upcoming episode and what we can expect to see from Ms. Karrueche Tran on Saturday, March 28.
“The thing that was so surprising to me is how protective and forgiving she is of Chris. She repeatedly offered that he is only human and humans make mistakes. She said she knows he loves her and she just wishes things could change for him. I think I am a bit more troubled by his behavior than she is. I am disturbed that he has such a gift and blessing and continues to dishonor God, himself and women with no accountability. Prison was punishment and punitive. It did not teach responsibility or accountability for his behavior or as the steward of a gift. Anyway, she made no attempt to bash him and will probably come across as naive and relatable”
This really isn’t all that surprising. Karrueche has been excusing bad behavior. Hopefully, her interview with Iyanla will help her achieve some type of clarity.
Ooo chile! TV is so delicious these days. And I can see right now that Oprah and her OWN network are determined to win the entire game. It was just two weeks ago that we learned Chris Brown fathered a child while he was dating Karrueche Tran. And right around the time she was trying to process it all, the OWN crew reached out to speak to her.
She’s not going to be sitting down with Oprah for a “Next Chapter” interview, she’s about to get a dose of realness from the one and only Auntie Iyanla Vanzant.
From the sneak peek recently posted on the network’s Facebook page, Iyanla is going to be asking some pretty hard questions.
He betrayed you
He lied to you
He did it all publicly
How did you find out that he had a baby by another woman?
Have you spoken to him
And finally: What I want people to know about Chris Brown is ________?
I’m sure we could think of some adjectives to put in that blank.
Check out the preview in the video below.
The sit down will air on OWN Saturday March 28th at 8|7c.
“Who Holds Him Accountable?” Amina Mosley, Eldest Child Of Jay Williams, Writes Open Letter To Iyanla
We’ve talked extensively about Jay Williams and his large family on this site. We’ve talked about his parents, the women who had his children and even the other men who seem to be following in his footsteps. And while Iyanla said she dealt so heavily with the mothers because she knew they were raising the children, aside from that meeting with Jay on the couch, we didn’t hear too much from them.
Well, all of that changed recently when Jay’s oldest child, daughter Amina Mosley, wrote an open letter to Iyanla, sarcastically thanking her for fixing her father. In it, she explains that instead of being held accountable for his actions, Jay got to walk away from the experience a bit of a superstar, without dealing with the broken relationships with his children.
See what she had to say.
I joined my siblings on the couch as we sat across from you, and then my father entered the room. In that particular moment, it felt like seeing a ghost. I hadn’t had any contact with my Father in over a year, and I was not at all pleased to be in presence. I just could not seem to wrap my head around my father knowing exactly how to reach me and where to find me all of this time but was only willing to talk when there was a camera around. Needless to say, my guard was up, and I did not believe that anything positive could come from this show. I began to worry about my siblings feelings, my family’s reputation, and I even questioned how I could receive any healing with my Father from that conversation. I left Atlanta feeling frustrated. All of the feelings about my Father that I had long since suppressed had resurfaced, and I did not want to deal with them, so I didn’t. I tucked my feelings away as I had so effortlessly done before, out of site out of mind. That is until the first show aired.
It was as if I was listening to someone else’s story, about a family that I didn’t even know. I could not believe that this man has 34 children! I could not believe that all of these women just let him get away with this! Why didn’t he just get a vasectomy? How did he get to this point? Furthermore, How can this be “fixed”? So just like any other viewer, I tuned into the next episode, and the next, and the next. I was able to see how what he created actually looked from another perspective, and was left with one question: Who holds him accountable?
So here’s what I learned from this process; It was never about highlighting the extraordinary circumstances of my family, it was about healing and finding your inner peace. This has tested my ability to compartmentalize the feelings that I have toward my father, so that I don’t allow his mistakes to mold my decisions. I also have to be cautious as not to project my feelings onto others. I am not just the eldest of 34. Who I am and what I feel as an individual does matter. His absence in my life is not a detriment. In fact, it has actually made me stronger, and serves a greater purpose. I know that things may not ever be perfect between my father and I. I am also aware that the time has passed for him to be a Dad, but I felt that this experience would at the least open up dialogue between us, possibly even maybe one day developing a friendship. So, with that thought in mind, before I left Atlanta I took a picture with my Grandfather and my Dad just so that I could have some inspiration to hold on to.
When I look at that photo, I see a young woman standing in between two of the most important men in her life. She is happy because she knows that the man to her right loves her, provides for her, protects her and she trusts him. She knows that when she calls he will answer, and that he will always put her first. She is his first child, Daddy’s little girl And he always has her best interest at heart.
She also knows that this is not real. This photo represents a “fantasy” of the Father that she never had. The reality is that this is the first photo she has ever taken with the two of these men together at the same time.
“I Trusted You And You Left Me” Iyanla Tells Man With 28 Children What It’s Like To Be A Single Mother
After dealing with the women, the mothers of children from men who had fathered several, Iyanla turned her attention to the fathers. In this clip, Iyanla talks to another father, Nathaniel, who has 28 children from 16 different women. And what’s interesting about this conversation is that it involves four people. There’s Nathaniel, standing in front of him is Iyanla and behind Iyanla is Jeff Johnson (formerly Cousin Jeff). And behind Nathaniel is Jay Williams, the man we’ve been following for the past month and some, with 34 children, was standing with his back to him, supporting him, holding him up.
At first, she asks him what it feels like to wake up knowing he has this much responsibility on his plate.
Nathaniel: “When I think about my children, I feel helpless. I’m full of shame and guilt. I’m bitter.”
Iyanla: “Let me talk to you as a woman, as a single mother. I gave you the most intimate part of who as I am as a woman. I opened my soul to you when I allowed you to lay with me and I trusted you. I trusted that you would be there. I trusted that you were the promise that my daddy never gave me. I trusted you with my soul, with my body, with my being. I trusted you and you left me. Not only did you leave me, you left me here with this child. Just like you don’t know who you are, I don’t know who I am. And now I’ve got a child and I’ve got to figure it out. And you tell me, that you get to go off and figure it out and have other women and I’m here with your child? I don’t get to go figure it out. That’s where she is.
Nathaniel: All of them, though? Even that the ones that we weren’t in a relationship…
Iyanla: Doesn’t matter.
Oprah called this moment one of the most powerful she’s ever seen on television. And judging by the audience reaction, she might have been right. Men and women alike were crying real tears, like twisted face tears.
If you’ve followed Iyanla’s career, you know this tidbit about her life. But rarely, have I ever seen someone so accomplished, someone who’s established themselves as a leader open up and share the raw, gut-wrenching truth about what it really feels like to be a woman who believed in a man and ending up having his child, only to have that same man leave. It was intense and so honest.
Did you watch this recap episode?
Watch the full interaction Iyanla and the man in the video below.
When the story of Jay Williams and his 34 children by 17 different women aired on OWN, social media erupted with all types of judgement. Judgement for Jay and judgement for the women who dealt with him in the past and those who continue to deal with him. Iyanla said that more than anyone, she wanted to make sure the women, the mothers, were working towards healing because they were the ones who were raising the children.
So she followed up the three part series with Jay by meeting up with the women again. But this time she had other women in the audience because, as Iyanla said, over and over again, the women who had been with Jay were not all that different from us all.
If you missed the series, know that she dropped some knowledge. Here are some of the lessons we took from the episode.
“That Was Like A Message From God”: Iyanla Says Man With 34 Kids Sought Her Help After Losing His 35th Child
As we told you from the list of things we took away from Iyanla Vanzant’s work with Jay Williams, we’ve been pretty invested in following the story of this man and his 34 children by 17 different women. Turns out, so have you, because the final part of his “Fix My Life” special brought in the show’s biggest ratings since last November. Williams has received a lot of criticism for bringing so many children into the world that he knew he wouldn’t be able to be fully present for. And when Williams contacted Vanzant with his story, she told Sister2Sister that she initially didn’t want to touch it with a ten-foot-pole because she knew it would require a lot of work, more work than she could fit in 60 minutes (make that around 45 with commercials) of television.
“I wouldn’t have done the story if I only had one episode.”
But she was moved. Vanzant says that it was the loss of his 35th child that really pushed Williams to want to do better, so after working to get a multi-part special on Williams, Vanzant got to work.
“In his mind that was like a message from God that you need to look at your kids. And I think in his assessment of his children, he realized that he wasn’t having a good relationship with his children and their mothers and he wanted to do something about that.”
And even after three episodes of trying to get down to the bottom of Williams’ issues, Vanzant says there is still more work to be done. More so for the mothers who were on the show and the women who watched it at home who entertain similar drama with the men in their lives.
“What we’re doing is, I want to have a conversation with the women because that story was about Jay, and his background and his interaction with his children and his relationship with the women. But I want to understand the women. What were they looking for? How did they allow a penis to come between us? I think that’s a conversation that requires some attention because their situation is not unique either.”
Vanzant tells us that while Williams’ story was hard to hear, we should all watch the things we say about him.
“I think that when we’re on social media spewing that negative energy, that we forget that the people we’re talking about have children, have parents, have sensitivities and have issues. People aren’t on ‘Fix My Life’ because they’re living at their highest potential.”