All Articles Tagged "Iyanla Vanzant"
We’ve talked about Marie Holmes around these parts quite a few times. If you’ll recall, she’s the the North Carolina Powerball lottery winner and mother of four who bailed her fiancé, Lamar McDow, out of jail a few times since winning the lottery in early 2015. It cost her $3 million to do so. He had been in jail due to heroin trafficking charges and went back to jail after being found in possession of a gun and drug paraphernalia in her home after he was going to be arrested for violating curfew, part of the terms of his ability to be released. She bailed him out again, that time, for $6 million. Such information ended up everywhere, and Holmes found herself having to publicly defend her decision to stand by her man:
“What Y’all need to be worried about is Y’all money and not how I spend mine this is benefitting Y’all how? And no he’s no drug dealer or user but who are Y’all to judge anybody? I will definitely pray for Y’all because it’s much need…they talked about Jesus so I’m not surprised Y’all are talking about me but be blessed though…”
Despite such a big monetary win, it hasn’t been an easy year and some change for Holmes. Someone looking to help her is Iyanla Vanzant.
According to North Carolina’s CBS affiliate, in a press release from OWN, she will be one of the women living in the “House of Healing” we told you about recently. Vanzant is helping to move the women and the audience away from the idea of the “angry Black woman.” It will be a four-part, multi-week episode that will air in September. According to WWAY, Holmes will meet with Vanzant 48 hours before McDow has to go off to serve a sentence of 10 years in jail. Vanzant’s hope? To reportedly “help her cope with her new fortune before she loses it all.” That, and to help “address the misperceptions sometimes associated with African American women, their behavior and ultimately their cultural identity,” according to the press release.
Do you think Vanzant will be able to be of help to Holmes? Find out when Iyanla: Fix My Life returns on Saturday, September 10 at 9 pm ET/PT on OWN.
A new season of Iyanla: Fix My Life is upon us and the series opener is tackling a big issue: Angry Black women — actually the myth of the angry Black woman.
In an attempt to prove the fallacy of the age-old stereotype, Iyanla will invite eight women to move into a “Healing House” where they will be “given the opportunity to be heard as together with Iyanla they examine their feelings, misguided pain, abandonment and abuse.” The women include a single mother, several victims of child abuse, and a set of twins, one of whom was attacked by an ex-boyfriend.
Check out a sneak peek of next season which premieres on Saturday, September 10 at 9 pm ET/PT on OWN below. What do you think about this topic?
In this week’s episode of Did Y’all See, we’re talking about relationships. Damaged ones, ones that are worth working on and the brand new ones. First up, it’s Iyanla Vanzant explaining why she never wants to be married again because marriages are not equal partnerships. Then Shar Jackson and her relationship with her daughter and what our own mothers have taught us about heartbreak. And lastly, whether or not it’s tacky for couples getting married in the courthouse to have a gift registry.
And for a little levity, a game of Who’d You Rather between Cam Newton and Serge Ibaka.
What is the real purpose of being in a relationship? Well, according to Iyanla Vanzant it’s not for fun. On a recent appearance of “It’s Not You, It’s Men,” with Tyrese and Rev Run, Vanzant talked about not only her past relationships, the reason for them and why she will never get married again. But unlike Oprah and Shonda Rhimes, it’s a bit different. Iyanla has been married before. Twice to the same man, in fact. So, while these ladies know what they don’t want for their lives based on what they feel marriage would be like, Iyanla has done it and knows she doesn’t want to go back to the life.
First, she explained that the reason she married her first husband was because she was seeking her father’s approval. But she also said something that seemed to catch Rev Run completely off guard.
Here’s the thing, relationships are not where we go to have fun. Relationships are where we go to heal and where we go to learn. And who you’re going to attract is the person that’s going to bring to the forefront the thing you need to learn or heal or the thing that’s going to help you grow the most.
Later in the segment, Iyanla further explained, “Anytime you go into a relationship to stop being by yourself, the relationship is doomed.” Then later, in the context of a marriage, she said, “Two people come together to demonstrate the presence of God’s love and to a vision.”
So with all those positive things to say about relationships, their functions and even their benefit to other people, why doesn’t Iyanla want to be married again?
I would be a great wife. You know what? I would not be a great wife based on the definitions and the standards of today. I’m a great partner because I see my partner as my equal. One of things that happens in our relationships is we either pick up somebody who needs our help or pick up somebody that can help us. Love and pure relationship and commitment can only exist among equals. Cause if I see you as less than, I can’t commit. If I see you as more than I can’t commit. So today, I’m looking for an equal. And I don’t want to be a wife. I want to be a partner. Because wives have to do stuff that I’m not doing.
All of this made me think, there really is something to be said about older women, who don’t necessarily adhere to traditional gender roles and religious doctrine about submission being able to be in successful relationships and marriages?
For successful women over 45 years old, it must be difficult to find a man, especially a Black man, especially a Black, Christian man, who won’t want his woman to submit, who won’t want to be the breadwinner or exercise some level of control and dominance over his wife. And being famous and, let’s be real, rich, she would have to find a man who was a.) so wholly and completely comfortable with his contributions to the relationship that he truly doesn’t mind her making more than him or b.) someone who did make as much as or more than her so that he actually feel comfortable in the relationship.
Even amongst the younger generation, you might find yourself hard pressed to find a man who genuinely wants to be his girlfriend or his wife’s equal. For the relationship advice I hear, it’s mostly about men and women adhering to often antiquated gender roles. Relationship experts will tell women that a man needs to be the one to provide but then call women gold diggers if they express the desire for a man who can do that.
Even though women have been in the workforce for decades now, and centuries if you’re talking about Black women, there is still this expectancy that though you might be contributing equally or more financially, as a man I must be dominant.
And women like Shonda, Oprah and Iyanla who are dominating and seem to be enjoying that life, I can’t see them agreeing to play a subservient role once they go home. For as much as people have to say about relationships, it’s very interesting that we don’t hear about equal partnerships all that much.
Do you believe that there has to be a dominant party in relationships? Would you want to be in an equal partnership?
Check out the full episode in the video below.
If You Want To Forgive, You Must Learn To Trust: Iyanla Vanzant Breaks Down The 4 Essentials Of Trust
Happy New Year! I’m sure that you’ve probably made some pretty awesome New Year’s resolutions. Do any of those resolutions include establishing better relationships with relatives or perhaps rebuilding trust with someone you love? If so, delving into Iyanla Vanzant’s latest book, Trust: Mastering the 4 Essential Truths, may be the perfect way to kick off your New Year. I recently had the opportunity to speak with the “Fix My Life” star and she dished on everything from the dangers of not trusting to that controversial Debi Thomas interview.
MN: What is your definition of trust?
Trust is a state of mind and a state of being that allows you to expect the greatest and best possibility as an outcome.
MN: Let’s talk about your new book Trust. What can readers expect to learn?
The four essentials:
1. Trusting yourself
2. Trusting God—your source, the creator
3. Trust others
4. Trusting the process of life.
In each area, we look at why it’s difficult, why it’s required to build trust, the benefits of trust and the challenges when we don’t trust in those four areas.
MN: Specifically, I wanted to ask about trusting in the process of life. What does that mean exactly?
Well, people have a tendency to believe that life isn’t on their side and that they have absolutely no control over what happens and how it happens and why it happens. But the process of life is really a function of how you’re trusting yourself, your creator and other people. How you see life, how you view life and how you participate in life is going to be a reflection of how you trust yourself, how you trust God—depending on whether or not you place your trust in something greater and move divine than your humanness—and your interactions, relationships and ability to trust other people.
MN: What inspired you to tackle trust, of all things, with this new project?
It is really a function of forgiveness. When I wrote Forgiveness, I gave people a very clear outline for how to forgive, why to forgive, the benefits of forgiveness. But what I discovered was that people couldn’t forgive because they didn’t trust. They were really expecting more of the same thing. And I was like, “What a minute, you’re not going to find the benefits of forgiveness until you learn to trust.”
MN: Do you find that the genders struggle with trust issues in different ways?
No, it’s not gender-specific. I really do believe that it’s a human issue and not a gender issue. If you don’t trust yourself, it really doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, black or white. It doesn’t matter. If you don’t have trust in your creator, your source, a divine being—whatever you call it, just something greater than you. Some people go, “Well, I don’t believe in God, but I do believe in humanity.” Well, do you trust that?
MN: How do you recommend giving someone a chance after they’ve broken the bond of trust?
Well, a liar is going to lie, and a thief is going to steal. A cheater is going to cheat. You have to balance trust with wisdom and boundaries. You can trust a liar, you just don’t trust what they’re saying when they say it without some kind of evidence that what they’re saying to you is actually accurate and valid. We get in trouble because after people have proven themselves to be untrustworthy, we try to trust them again wanting them to be who we think they are as opposed to accepting what they’ve demonstrated themselves to be. Now, does that mean that people cannot and do not change? Absolutely not. People can change, but you have to find and secure evidence of the change before you alter your experience and awareness of them.
MN: You once said, “You never get what you ask for, you get what you expect” and “when someone betrays our trust, it reveals the high price paid for such a deep disconnection.” It kind of blew my mind, but I wanted to ask you to clarify a little bit about what that means.
Trust is a state of mind, and the mind is very powerful. 99.9 percent of the time, we say we trust, but we’re looking out of the corner of our eye expecting more of what we already have. You may be saying “I trust you,” but you’re expecting to be violated, rejected, abandoned, betrayed again, and that’s what you get. The mind is very powerful; it doesn’t matter what your words are. It doesn’t matter what you’re hoping for. One element of expectation supersedes 25 elements of hope or 25 grains of hope. So if you’re expecting to be betrayed, rejected, abandoned, you’re going to get it.
MN: You do a lot of great work, but, of course, good work doesn’t come without criticism. Recently, people had some things to say about your Debi Thomas “Fix My Life” sessions. Some said that you were shaming her. Did you hear any of that feedback?
Oh absolutely. Here’s what I do know, people only recognize outside what they do inside. What I do within myself is the filter through which I see the world. Debi Thomas came to me; I did not go to her. Debi Thomas was very clear about what she wanted to talk about in her story. Debi Thomas also had a vision and an intention for what her work would be. Every guest has a vision and an intention. Now, when we arrived, that looked very different for her, so my heart and mind are very clear because I asked her what she wanted to fix, she told me and we gave her the tools to fix it. The fact that she rejected it, that’s not on me, that’s on her.
MN: And finally, are you still working with police brutality victims? Do you have any words for the black community during these difficult times?
Whenever I’m asked to do community work, I show up. You know, whether it’s Baltimore or Ferguson, or wherever I’m asked to work with the community, I do that—including the mental health community through which I was challenged with the Debi Thomas story. People were saying that I was insensitive to that, which is absolutely not true. So yes, I do show up in Baltimore, in Ferguson, in the mental health community, for domestic abuse, for children of incarcerated parents, for teenage mothers, for single mothers, in shelters. All of those places, I show up. Just because the camera isn’t there doesn’t mean I don’t do it, which is why criticism doesn’t bother me.
During these trying times that we’re facing, I would remind people to focus on the road. If you focus on the worst possible outcome, that’s an expectation, and that’s what you’re going to get. So in addition to continuing to do the work we have to do to grow our communities, I’d say the same thing I said in Ferguson: “What is the ask?” What are we expecting and are we bringing our best individual selves to the table? As we get better as individuals, as our ask becomes clearer and our expectations become higher, things will change.
People have been talking about Debi Thomas, the 48-year-old former figure skater who, in 1988, made history as the first African-American to win a medal at the Winter Olympics.
I am one of those people.
But when I talk about Debi Thomas, it’s mostly to rush to her defense. Not because I believe she’s a hero, but because I don’t believe that she’s a failure.
As I watched Saturday’s season finale of Iyanla: Fix My Life, my chest tightened with “There but for the grace of God, go I” anxiety. I wasn’t counting my blessings for not being Thomas, or for being in a better position than she’s in, but I was counting my blessings for not being on television.
Olympic athletes aren’t the only ones who fall from grace. Regular folk, whom others regard as everyday stars, also descend. If you are someone about whom people have said “you’re special” or “you’re a star” or “you’re going places” or “you’ve got potential” or “you’re destined for greatness,” then you probably know what I’m talking about. God bless you if you grew up with predictions about how you would “be somebody.” God bless you if you actually achieved some level of somebody-ness (earned a college degree, scored a six-figure-salary job or attained a not-so-high-paying-salary gig but a big job title; purchased a luxury home; raised an exemplary child to whom others point as evidence of your gold star in parenting; painted a svelte figure and stylish appearance; partnered with an ideal mate; quadrupled your net worth in 30 years; founded and ran a successful company, etc.). God bless you if had some somebody-ness, then you lost some or all of it.
If you’ve ever had someone (a former colleague, a mentor, a concerned friend from college who you haven’t spoken to in years) lament your squandered talent or your unused potential and go on mournfully about everything you “should have been” or how “you let yourself go”; if you’ve ever been the subject of someone else’s disappointment; if you’ve ever been in a rut that no amount of social media airbrushing could hide; if you ever had a massive trip-up or collapse in your career; if you’ve ever experienced any kind of public demise that made people wonder “What happened?” and say as much out loud…then you know how Debi Thomas feels right now.
Thomas is you, me and any person who has not been who someone else thought we could be or should be.
The day that her appearance on Fix My Life aired, The Atlantic published a piece about the religious undertones of Vanzant’s particular brand of intervention and redemption. Discussing the unspoken mandate of the show to have its subjects confess and repent, writer Emma Green said, “Public expressions of brokenness, of being essentially flawed in a way that has led to wrong-doing, have long been a central preoccupation of organized religion.”
What many folks learned from the Debi Thomas episode: Debi Thomas—the athlete, scholar and surgeon—is deplorably flawed. She’s so flawed that she’s a blight on the American Dream itself. She’s so flawed that she doesn’t know the half of how flawed she is and, so, because of her apparent cluelessness, she cannot repent.
How did we want her to repent? Did we want her to say, “You’re right. I’m wrong.” Although Vanzant says throughout the show that she wants Thomas to do right by herself, it often seems as if Vanzant wants Thomas to do right by Vanzant’s expectations (and, quite likely, our own).
Watching that episode, why were so many folks upset to see Debi make “wrong” choices (not taking the offer to spend months in Chicago getting therapy and life coaching, choosing the blue pill to save her relationship with her man)? But whom did she wrong with those decisions? Has she wronged herself or has she wronged the all-knowing television audience who says it knows damn well what’s best for her?
What I learned from that episode: Olympians-turned-orthopedic surgeons are just like us.
Olympians get arrested. Sometimes, they go broke. Dorothy Hamill, the figure skating darling of the 1970s, declared bankruptcy. Hamill has talked about the challenge of navigating life, post-Olympics, saying, “One naively thinks that by winning the Olympics, it’s going to be this switch and then your life is going to be perfect, and that’s not reality. I just never really knew what life would be like after.”
I know, I know. Debi Thomas has a more tragic story. She has bedbugs and lives in a trailer! (*clutches pearls*) Never mind that, according to the National Pest Management Association, one in five Americans has had a bed bug infestation in their home. Never mind that, per an economics professor at Duke University who was quoted in this BBC article from 2013, “Not everyone who lives in a trailer park is poor.” (But, yes, when you watch the Fix My Life episode, it’s evident that the description of Thomas’s trailer as “rundown” appears to be accurate. And “living in a rundown trailer” may as well be synonymous with “being a poor bastard.”)
In the voice-over at the top of the show, Vanzant says, “Aaaaall of Debi’s success, aaaaall of the glory is gone.” (There is so much dramatic emphasis on “all,” as if Vanzant is over-enunciating the word so her vocal choreography will paint the most tragic picture.) She continues, “Debi is penniless. Divorced. She even lost custody of her son.” Then, in an on-camera shot, Vanzant offers this bottom line: “This is a story about falling, about losing sight of who you are and what really matters in your life.”
The loss of Thomas’s child, Vanzant wants us to believe, is a prime example of how Thomas has lost her life’s direction. Though we hear Thomas speak vaguely about having once had goals in her life, we don’t really hear her say that being an on-site, present mother was one of them. She doesn’t speak of a time when she was particularly invested in motherhood; she barely seems as if she is interested in being a mother. And guess what? That’s OK. There are plenty of women who realized after they had children that they were either not interested in or not cut out for motherhood. Still, Vanzant calls out Thomas for raising her fiancé’s children and not her own. But living with a child is not always raising them. Thomas boldly admits that she didn’t bond with her own child during his formative years, and this is not the rarest of rarities. Men ditch fatherhood, and it’s a minor reproachable offense of being a rolling stone. Women ditch motherhood, and it’s a damn condemnable sin to the “How dare you?” degree.
When that woman and mother has the nerve to say, “I’m pretty comfortable with myself,” then we, the world via Iyanla Vanzant, say, “Really? You’re pretty comfortable with yourself?”
And when we, the world via Iyanla Vanzant, ask that woman and mother how she feels about living in a trailer, and that woman and mother says, “A little bit frustrated,” then we, the world via Iyanla Vanzant, ask, “Frustrated? Not sad, not angry, not ashamed, not guilty?”
When we, the world via Iyanla Vanzant, disregard that woman and mother’s response to her mental health diagnosis, by calling Mood Disorder NOS (not otherwise specified) Bipolar Disorder, we forget that the two diagnoses are not necessarily the same.
When we, the world via Iyanla Vanzant, yell at the flat screen like, “Girl, that man is beating you! I can see the bruise on your face. Get out!” we forget that every minute 20 people are victims of intimate partner violence. (No, I am not making an “it’s OK, everyone’s experiencing it” excuse. But I am saying this: Thomas, unfortunately, is not an anomaly, so we needn’t pelt her with every ounce of our infuriated disbelief. Compassion works, too.)
When we, the world via Iyanla Vanzant, criticize folks for the stories people tell themselves about themselves that may or may not be holding them back, but we never stop to answer the question of “What do we think they’re being held back from?” that’s where we go wrong. Because that’s the question that matters. That’s the question that forces us to look at the stories we tell ourselves about others and the way in which we narrate other people’s futures and failures based on who we need them to be and the plots that we’ve conceived for their happy ending.
Here’s what we, the world via Iyanla Vanzant are saying: You are not making us proud, Debi Thomas. There was a time when we were proud of you. But now, look at you. You are nothing that we’d thought you would be because you’re nothing that we would want to be. You are nothing about which we can boast and brag. We feel sorry for you. We shake our heads at you. We can barely stand to watch you and see who you’ve become.
But the nerve of us! Because even when you won that medal that awarded you the pedestal of grace from which we say you’ve now fallen, we still had the nerve to call it “the night when it all slipped away.” We say it was “not her best moment” in reference to the numerous times you fell on the ice.
How we feel about Debi Thomas is how every mother feels about her teenage daughter from the ages 13-18 when the daughter’s experiments show her mother just how un-sweet, un-perfect and un-obedient she really is. The teenager thinks she’s exercising her autonomy; the mother thinks the teenager has lost her damn mind, often saying, “I raised you to do better than this.”
So, too, do we, via Iyanla Vanzant, tell Debi Thomas, “You are an unerasable, undeniable piece of American history. But you don’t carry yourself in a way that is congruent with the truth of who you are.”
I only wish Debi Thomas had retorted, “The truth of who I am according to whom?”
Iyanla Vanzant is all about teaching people to “rebuild, restructure and redefine” their lives. The 62-year-old spiritual advisor learned this lesson over 40 years ago. She was 21 years old at the time and had just given birth to her third child. Still suffering from post-partum depression, the young mother decided to end her life.
“I took a bunch of pills. I was in the kitchen, on the floor, and I could feel myself losing consciousness,” Vanzant says in a clip from OWN’s upcoming seven-night series, “Belief.”
As she felt herself fading out, the television personality had a life-changing vision.
“In that moment, I saw what I believe to be the Divine Mother. She said to me, ‘Do you really want to die?’ And I said, ‘No. I just don’t want to hurt anymore.’”
Thankfully, Vanzant survived the suicide attempt. She was admitted into a psychiatric hospital where she was treated for depression. There, she learned to sort through her thoughts and emotions in a healthy way.
“What I learned to believe is that I matter. Life matters. God is all, and where I put my heart and my intention, that is what I’m going to experience,” she recalled. “I learned in that eight weeks that I have to power to rebuild, restructure, redefine, recreate my life because my mind is one with God’s mind. I learned that in the nuthouse. Pretty crazy, huh?”
“Belief” premieres Sunday, October 18, at 8: 00 p.m. ET on OWN.
People speak about a woman’s intuition almost jokingly. Like it’s not to be taken seriously. But it can prove to be quite important. And oftentimes when we ignore it, regret soon follows.
Even seasoned women who seem to be very in touch with their emotions and feelings don’t always do what their mind, heart and spirit instructs.
Recently, Iyanla Vanzant, who makes a living off of unearthing the emotions in others spoke about a time when she ignored her own knowing and how she fears it affected her work.
In a recent interview with Essence.com, Vanzant spoke about second guessing herself and referenced the volatile episode with rapper DMX.
“I never second guess myself because I’m not committed to the outcome. I can’t want more for them than they want for themselves…I failed one guest,” she said. “I failed DMX because I was guided and directed by the Holy Spirit to do something and I didn’t do it. And I don’t know had I done it, how the show would’ve turned out…But that was my failure and I have never done that again. What the Holy Spirit tells me to do, I do much to the horrification of my producers.”
Take that as a friendly reminder ladies. When you know, you know and should act accordingly.
In addition to DMX, Vanzant also spoke about what entity she would like to work with next on her show: The Black Lives Matter movement.
When Michael Brown was killed last year in Ferguson, Missouri, Vanzant and her OWN crew traveled to the city. There she prayed, spoke to a family member of Mike Brown, protestors and even a police chief. And while she acknowledged the necessity of the movement and the protestors there, she also made sure to mention that the activists would have to develop clear “asks.”
She wanted to know what type of legislation or policy changes the protestors, activists and community leaders were hoping to achieve. And since she believes the movement lacks the ask portion, she told Essence.com, that during season 4 of “Iyanla: Fix My Life,” she may challenge some of the young people involved to use the hashtag to do something more than just tweet and march.
Do you think Iyanla is the right person to take this on? Do you agree that the Black Lives Matter movement needs clear asking points?
In 2012, Evelyn Lozada had a “coming-to-Jesus” moment with Fix My Life host, Iyanla Vanzant. Lozada, who was notoriously known as a “Basketball Wives” mean girl spoke with Vanzant after she was assaulted by her then-husband Chad Ochocinco and revealed some of the underlying issues behind her constant rage.
The session proved to be a life changer for Lozada, who levitated her anger issues and became a more affable person. Lozada also became engaged to LA Dodgers athlete Carl Crawford and gave birth to their adorable baby boy, Carl Jr. All seems to be on the up and up for the mother of two, but that doesn’t mean she might not need to be checked on every now and then.
This Saturday on Livin’ Lozada, Evelyn’s OWN reality show, we’ll see her reunite with Iyanla for an “accountability check” as she discusses her new life and how she’s managing it. During their conversation, Evelyn delves into her relationship with Carl and reveals something very interesting to Iyanla.
Watch Evelyn open up to Iyanla in the exclusive clip below. “Livin’ Lozada” airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on OWN.
Jesus wept when we learned, earlier this year, that Jay Williams was coming back to OWN with a new docuseries.
But apparently, he may have heard some of your prayers about it not coming to pass. Because, midway through production, the OWN announced that they’ve decided to pull the plug on Jay, his 17 baby mamas and their 34 children.
The network released this statement:
“OWN has decided not to move forward with the Jay Williams docu-series. The series aimed to follow Jay as he worked to put his life and fractured relationships in order and to hold him accountable every step of the way. The intention was to help Jay work to establish new connections with his family, his children and the mothers of his children. Production has ended and the series will not air.”
Sources told theGrio, that production for the docu-series wasn’t playing out the way the network had hoped.
When OWN made the announcement about the show, they said that cameras hoped to document Jay as he worked to heal and establish new connections with his fractured family.
This is certainly interesting to me. And actually, reminds me of the open letter his daughter Amina Mosley wrote, where she stated that her father had become a bit of an attention-seeker after the cameras started documenting his troubled relationships.
Perhaps OWN learned the same thing…or maybe things just got uglier. Either way, Jay Williams really didn’t need any more public exposure. And whether someone is broadcasting it or not, I would hope he and several of his family members get some professional or spiritual help so they can begin to clean all of this up.