The market’s saturated with self-help gurus. With countless books and programs promising to help you manifest your best self, the practice has become so diluted but Iyanla Vanzant is set to change that. The author, life coach and host of the series “Iyanla: Fix My Life” wants to start up a conversation on controversial topics she says, “people merely whisper about.” First on that list is the topic of gay men in the black church.
“It’s an issue that we usually only whisper about,” says Vanzant, whose self help television series debuted three years ago. “It’s not about them being gay, but living dishonestly. These men have been forced to live a lie so everyone around then could be comfortable.”
In what she claims is one of her most controversial seasons, the three-part series, which just premiered on Saturday follows two gay pastors who for years have been keeping their homosexuality secret and plan to, with her help, reveal their “down low” lifestyles to their families and congregations.
Vanzant says four pastors initially approached her, but only two chose to complete the self-help journey. “I don’t have a personal stake in their outcome,” she shares. “They come to me if they want to heal and I provide them with information. I dealt with them because they were living a lie and were tired of living a lie. This show is not about them being gay, but what it takes for people to have the courage to be who they are.”
A sexual abuse survivor with a profound amount of knowledge and wisdom on a self healing, Vanzant, has undergone a dramatic, but positive change in her own life and uses what she learned from this change to help others better their own lives. “I never leave there feeling I didn’t do the right thing or say the right thing. I share what I have learned and that’s what makes ‘Fix My Life’ real. I can’t fix your life, but what I can do is provide you with the information you need.”
With future episodes that include women who get dangerous butt injections, Vanzant hopes to spark a larger conversation about the taboo topic of homosexuality in the black church and self-image. “We have opinions and we don’t have conversations anymore. Hopefully what ‘Fix My Life’ will do is create conversation. That is one thing we don’t do in society anymore.”
“Iyanla: Fix My Life” airs Saturdays at 9/8c on OWN
Samantha Ofole-Prince is a journalist and movie critic who covers industry-specific news. Twitter @samanthaofole