Black News, Entertainment, Style and Culture - HuffPost Black Voices
iOS app Android app More
November 22, 2014

Juror Bias the Biggest Barrier to Indicting Wilson and Cops That Kill

Ferguson
Scott Olson via Getty Images

School Official Apologizes For Retweet About Mixed-Raced Couples

Strickland
13 News Now

Can Ferguson Residents Wait on Commission Report?

Ferguson Commission
Scott Olson via Getty Images

Video Shows Cop Beating Man In Head With Nightstick (GRAPHIC VIDEO)

Donovan Lawson
YouTube

Here Are The Key Figures In The Ferguson Shooting

Michael Brown
Joe Raedle via Getty Images

Some African-Americans Question Bill Cosby Allegations On Social Media

Bill Cosby
Al Pereira via Getty Images

Toni Morrison Schools Colbert On Race In America

Toni Morrison
Comedy Central

These Photos Show Why Hope Is Alive In Detroit

Corine
Detroit Institute of Arts

Judge Issues Court Orders To Uphold Right To Record Police In Ferguson

Ferguson Police
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Fox Host Links Immigration Reform To Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

Eric Bolling
Noam Galai via Getty Images

Church Threatens 'I'm Not Gay No More' Man With A Lawsuit

Gay Viral Video
ABC 46

NYPD Officer Shoots And Kills Unarmed Man In Brooklyn

Nypd
Rudi Von Briel via Getty Images

Why Does Alleged Sexual Predator R. Kelly Still Have a Career?

R Kelly
Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

REPORT: Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson In Talks To Resign

Darren Wilson
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Why We Don't Need Another White Dude On The Cover Of People's Sexiest Man Alive

Chris Hemsworth
Don Arnold via Getty Images

Bill Cosby's Arizona Show Canceled

Bill Cosby
ASSOCIATED PRESS

'I Do Not Want My Son's Death To Be In Vain'

Michael Brown Sr
You Tube

Ferguson Police Arrest Demonstrators In Confrontation

Ferugson Protests
Andrew Burton via Getty Images

Holder Announces New Guide For Police Ahead Of Ferguson Decision

Holder
Justice Department

Read The Full Text Of Obama's Immigration Speech

Barack Obama
ASSOCIATED PRESS

NAACP Blasts Nevada Speaker-Elect's Racial Comments

Ira Hansen
ASSOCIATED PRESS

An Anti-Gay 'Christmas Gift' On The Way For Uganda?

Uganda Gay
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Former Wrestling Superstar Struggles As Double Amputee

Kamala
Bleacher Report

This Is What School Districts Are Doing To Prepare For The Ferguson Verdict

Normandy Schools
The Washington Post via Getty Images

Raven-Symone Speaks Out Against Rumors That Bill Cosby Assaulted Her

Raven Symone
Imeh Akpanudosen via Getty Images

This 5-Year-Old Gives Homeless Kids Care Packages That Make Them Feel Right At Home

Jayla Newson
Today Show

Facts On Stop And Frisk Reform That Shatter Right-Wing Media Fears

Bill

'Urban Militia' Group Offers Bounty For Location Of Officer Darren Wilson

Darren Wilson
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Cosby Controversy: 6 Signs Of Rape Culture

Bill Cosby
Brad Barket/Invision/AP

Police Arrest 6 Protesters In St. Louis

Police Arrest Protesters St Louis
Scott Olson via Getty Images

Ferguson and the 'Us vs. Them' Illusion

Ferguson Police Protesters
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Calling Nevada's Incoming Speaker Racist And Sexist Would Be A Huge Understatement

Ira Hansen
ASSOCIATED PRESS

'The Minority Report With Larry Wilmore' Has A New Name

Larry Wilmore
Frederick M. Brown via Getty Images

Daniel Handler's Offensive NBA Jokes Prove Book Industry Has A Long Way To Go

Lemony Snicket
David Livingston via Getty Images

Rand Paul Honestly Thinks He's Congress' Biggest Defender Of Minority Rights

Rand Paul
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Violence in Post-Verdict Ferguson: What We Should Be Worried About

Ferguson Protests
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Man Who Spent 39 Years In Prison To Be Freed After Witness Admits He Lied

Ricky Jackson
ASSOCIATED PRESS

NFL Star Finds Wallet, Goes To Owner's House To Return It

Marshawn Lynch
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Jane Doe 10 From Cosby Case Goes Public With Claims

Cosby Serignese
Getty/Courtesy of Therese Serignese

Ballerina Of Our Dreams Misty Copeland Is Getting A Reality Show

Misty Copeland
Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Florida Cops On What Ferguson Can Learn From Trayvon

Trayvon Martin
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Getting Beyond Ferguson

Ferguson Police
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Rape Accusations Against Bill Cosby Must Not Be Ignored

Bill Cosby
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Standing Your Ground in Journalism, Even When Diversity Isn't Valued

Racism Newsroom
David Joyner via Getty Images

Black-Owned Food Trucks Give New Meaning to Meals on Wheels

Goodies Frozen Custard
The Washington Post via Getty Images

Meet The Teach For America Official Charged With Bringing Change To Ferguson And Beyond

Brittany Ferguson
Emily Kassie

Sharpton: Activists In Ferguson Are Ready

Rev Al Sharpton
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Why One Ferguson Store Owner Refuses To Board Up His Windows

Ferguson Store Owner
Emily Kassie

Study Shows White Americans Draw Distinctions Between African-Americans And Blacks

Naacp
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mo'ne Davis Has A Memoir Coming Soon -- And She's Only 13

Mone Davis
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Reflections on Ol' Dirty Bastard Ten Years Later: ODB as a Microcosm of American Inequality

Ol Dirty Bastard
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Racial Disparity In Ferguson Arrests Is Big, But Not As Big As Other Places

Ferguson Police
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Motown Singer Jimmy Ruffin Dead At Age 78

Jimmy Ruffin
Ian Dickson via Getty Images

Corporate Buyout: Why Legacy Civil Rights Groups Are on the Wrong Side of History

Net Neutrality
Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Unique Love Story About a Ugandan Transgender Woman

Jonnyvonwallstromcleo
Jonny von Wallstrom

Will The National Guard Really Help Keep Peace In Ferguson?

National Guard Ferguson
Joe Raedle via Getty Images

Wall Street's Lack Of Diversity Is Putting Us At Risk Of Another Crisis

Wall Street Traders
JEWEL SAMAD via Getty Images

Liberian-American Health Care Workers Join Fight Against Ebola

Minnesota Nurses Ebola
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Hard Time: Lessons From a Maximum-Security Prison

Behind Bars
Halfdark via Getty Images

Tanzania Is Uprooting 40,000 People For The Most Despicable Reason

Tanzania Masai
Chris Jackson via Getty Images

Ferguson Remains On Edge Ahead Of Grand Jury Decision

Ferguson
Getty

Students Walk Out Of School To Protest Racist Tweet They Believe Was Sent By Administrator

Student Protest
13 News Now

Justice Department Probe Of Ferguson Police Could Spur Broad Change

Eric Holder

Missouri Executes Killer For 1994 Murder Of Gas Station Attendant

Leon Taylor
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ferguson Protesters Fear Police Crackdown After Grand Jury Decision

Ferguson
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Human Toll of 'Stop and Frisk'

185494998
Getty

By Soledad O'Brien

FOLLOW HUFFPOST

    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. HuffPost
    1. HuffPost
    2. View all RSS feeds

Former En Vogue Singer: I Want Money For Lifetime Movie Or I'll Sue!

En Vogue
ASSOCIATED PRESS

WATCH: Tina Knowles Dishes New Details On Solange's Wedding

Tina Knowles

My Conversation With Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Gina Prince-Bythewood

Beyond The Lights
Larry Busacca via Getty Images

What Michael Sam Would Change About His Coming Out In Hindsight

Michael Sam Gq Interview
Peggy Sirota/GQ

'RHOA' Star Slams Incarcerated Husband's Talk Of Reconciliation

Phaedra Parks Apollo
Bravo via Getty Images

Don't Tell This 'Scandal' Star He Isn't 'Black Enough'

Joe Morton
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Listen To Two New Beyonce Songs

Beyonce
Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

What Street Style Looks Like Around The World

Street Style
lamarr/eyeem

These Celebrity Drawings Are So Realistic, You'll Think They're Photos

Celebrity Photos
Instagram

Wyclef Jean Is Still Totally Down For A Fugees Reunion

Wyclef
Brad Barket/Invision/AP

MC Lyte Among Honorees At Annual Women's Empowerment Event

Mc Lyte
Nyki Elle

LL Cool J, Chaka Khan Honor Quincy Jones At Ebony Gala

Quincy Jones

'No More Drama' AND No Female Friends For MJB's Husband

Mary J Blige
Stephen Lovekin via Getty Images

The Subtle, Revolutionary Thing That Happens On 'Scandal' Every Week

Scandal Kerry Washington
Adam Taylor via Getty Images

Kara Walker Secretly Filmed You Ogling Her Sugar Sphinx In Brooklyn

Kara Walker
Andrew Burton via Getty Images

"Bye Felicia" Is The Name Of a New TV Show And You'll Never Guess What It's About

Bye Felicia
VH1

How Jay Z Influenced Remy From 'House Of Cards'

Mahershala Ali
Imeh Akpanudosen via Getty Images

Tyler James Williams: The Black Community Is 'Notoriously Homophobic'

Tyler James Williams
Tiffany Rose via Getty Images

Bill Cosby's New NBC Show Is No Longer In Development

Bill Cosby
Todd Williamson/Invision/AP

Cornel West And Questlove Discuss Politics & Music

Questlove
ASSOCIATED PRESS

We're Girl Crushing On This Creative Director And So Should You

Aurora James
Aurora James Instagram

Hear 30 Seconds Of A New Beyonce Song Before It Gets Pulled Down

Beyonc
Jonathan Short/Invision/AP

Maybe It's Time To Stop Caring About Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj
Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Tracy Morgan Fighting 'Severe Brain Injury'

Tracy Morgan
Greg Allen/Invision/AP

EBONY To Honor Top 100 Black Influencers Of 2014

Lupita Nyongo
Dimitrios Kambouris via Getty Images

Netflix Postpones Launch Of Bill Cosby Comedy Special

Bill Cosby
Al Pereira via Getty Images

Tiger Woods Is Very Angry About A Very Fake Satirical 'Interview' With Him

Tiger Woods
Andy Lyons via Getty Images

Janice Dickinson Alleges That She Was 'Sexually Assaulted' By Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Will Smith And His Ex-Wife Are Total Pros At Co-Parenting

Will Smith Jada
Bryan Steffy via Getty Images

Jaden And Willow Smith Said Some Weird Stuff In Their T Mag Interview

Jaden Willow Smith
Amanda Edwards via Getty Images

Dave Chappelle Defends Donald Sterling

Dave Chappelle
GQ

10 Craziest Things We Learned From The Aaliyah Lifetime Movie

Aaliyah Singer
George De Sota via Getty Images

Chris Rock Explains The Double Standard Of Being Black & Famous

Chris Rock
CBS

Wendy Williams Shrugs Off 'Aaliyah' Movie Critics

Wendy Williams
Robin Marchant via Getty Images

Katherine Heigl Opens Up About Her Alleged Feud With Shonda Rhimes

Katherine Heigl
Robin Marchant via Getty Images

'I Refuse To Let Them Come Into This Space'

Bradford Young Selma
Paramount

Solange's Bridal Afro Upsets Beauty Standards

Solange Afro
Chelsea Lauren via Getty Images

I'm a Hip-Hop Feminist Dating a Patriarchal Man

Black Couple
Camille Tokerud via Getty Images

LOOK: Michael Sam Covers GQ Magazine And Nabs HUGE Honor

Michael Sam Gq Magazine
Twitter

WATCH Kevin Hart Tell Jameis Winston To 'Stop Doing Dumb Sh*t'

Kevin Hart
TMZ Video

Hear Nicki Minaj's Latest Single, 'Bed Of Lies'

Nicki Minaj
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Solange And Son Julez Bust Some Sweet Moves At Her Wedding

Solange Son Wedding Dance
Vimeo

The Hard-Won Lessons Sherri Shepherd Took Away From Two Divorces

Sherri Shepherd
Bravo via Getty Images

Why Do Fans Feel Guilty About Bill Cosby's Sexual Abuse Allegations?

Bill Cosby
ASSOCIATED PRESS

'106 & Park' Cancelled?

106 Park
BET

Beyonce Shares Photos From Solange Knowles' Stunning Wedding

Solange
Instagram

J. Cole Announces New Album Coming In December

J Cole
Taylor Hill via Getty Images

Solange Knowles Is Married!

Solange Knowles
Josh Brasted via Getty Images

Timbaland Slams Lifetime's Aaliyah Biopic

Timbaland
Bennett Raglin/BET via Getty Images

Bill Cosby's Lawyer: No Comment On Sexual Assault Allegations

Cosby
Victoria Will/Invision/AP

20 Questions With Best Selling Author/Spiritual Guru Iyanla Vanzant

Comments (45)


If you turned on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' a few weeks back and saw Oprah having a heated sit-down with Iyanla Vanzant, you might have thought she was just another crazy black female.
In fact, she's an attorney, motivational speaker, life coach, former talk-show host and has over eight million books in print.

Since her talked about fallout and recent reconciliation with one of America's media darlings, Vanzant has come to terms with some of her darkest moments and truly is in a peaceful place. So much so, she penned a book to help inspire others to get through the tough times and see the other side of the rainbow. 'Peace From Broken Pieces,' the NAACP Image Award winner's newest memoir and inspirational tome is already a New York Times Best Seller.

Iyanla Vanzant filled BlackVoices.com in on how it feels to share her story, why she really went broke and why she has nothing bad to say about Oprah Winfrey.

Here's 20 Questions with Iyanla Vanzant.

BlackVoices.com: Let's talk just a little bit about your appearance on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show.' When you saw the episode air, what was your reaction?
Iyanla Vanzant:
I was very happy about it because I believe that it was an opportunity to demonstrate to the world what is required to heal a breakdown in a relationship. Many people have relationship breakdowns and that's what we had because of miscommunication and misunderstanding.

BV: What was the reaction from some of your close family and friends when you told them you were making that step to reconcile with Oprah?
IV:
Everyone was grateful because it was something that I had prayed about and really wanted to clear. I care a lot about Oprah, and she's my sister in the spirit. She's been very supportive of me and my work. She taught America how to say my name. There was a breakdown between us, so everybody was happy that we had the opportunity to clear that up.

BV: When you made the decision to do the show, did you think it would be such a major media event? You had two episodes...
IV:
The first and only person in her farewell season. But, no, I didn't think about that. I didn't go on Oprah's show to go on Oprah's show. I went on Oprah's show to heal a breakdown in a relationship. It just so happens that she was courageous enough to do that in front of the public. So, I wasn't thinking about it in those terms at all. It just unfolded that way.

BV: Did you have any reservations about how the fallout would be revealed and that it might be slanted toward her side?
IV:
When you talk about healing, you can't talk about what it's going to look like (laughs). You just have to be open to however it shows up, and I think that people are more caught up in "Oh, that's Oprah Winfrey. That's Oprah Winfrey," and miss the point that we are two women that needed to be reconciled. That, to me, is where we need to be looking and not at the fact that it was done on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Did people miss that?

BV: I think so. But you were so vulnerable and open?
IV:
No. She was so vulnerable and open because she didn't know what I was going to say at all. If I had never spoken to her, I would have been okay because I have peace within myself. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to understand what she was thinking and feeling. We both had a very different experience of what happened and that happens all the time. I heard her one way and she heard me one way, and neither one of us got the full meaning of what the other person was saying. She thought I was giving her an ultimatum. I thought she was kicking me to the curb. She had a special regard for me, and I thought she just wanted me on the show because I was a good guest. There were things we just didn't meet on, and I can only take responsibility for my role in it. I can't take responsibility for her role in it, so I'm glad we got to clear it up.

BV: Watching the episodes after they aired, did you feel exploited in any way? They had you looking real crazy in some of those clips.
IV
: I know television. I know what brought all those eyeballs to that screen that day was the fact that they thought it was going to be a juicy catfight (laughs). Had we said, "Watch this show and learn how to heal broken relationships in your life," how many people do you think would have come? It was a difficult conversation. I don't think it was a pretty conversation, but I think it was an authentic conversation. You got to remember we talked for 90 minutes, you saw 48.

BV: Why did you let them put you in that hat and that coat walking through the woods?
IV:
Let me just say, that is a handmade Italian coat. It is a beautiful coat. Now, the hat just didn't go with the coat, but it was five degrees outside. I really didn't care what I looked like. My goal was to be warm. I had on a sweatshirt and two sweaters and I had to feed my birds. My birds were hungry.

BV: The good news is that your appearance likely helped with landing 'Peace From Broken Pieces' on the New York Times Best-Sellers List. How do you feel about that?
IV:
I'm grateful I have always enjoyed tremendous support from the public. I think what being on the show did was let people know that the book was out there because you reach more millions of people being on that show one time than you do with all of the ads and the interviews you could do over the world. So, I'm just grateful that people still want to work and they recognize the value in my work.

BV: Would you do another television show similar to your previous talk show, 'Iyanla'?
IV:
Well, no, I'm a different person and that is what the book is about. It's about, "How did I get to be different" and "What did I learn in that process?" so I would never do what I did before. Would I do television again? Absolutely. But, since I am a very different person, my goals would be different [and] my requirements would be different. What would be the most fulfilling for me would be to have an opportunity to share with the world, particularly our community of people, the knowledge that I have gained in 28 years of doing this work. People of color are dying of everything, and we don't have to die, we don't have to suffer. Whether it's on network or cable, it has to be about leading our community. My heart is with the African-American community to a place of healing. Foolishment, as Mama Odie says in 'The Princess and the Frog.'

BV: Have you run into Barbara Walters recently?
IV:
Not at all.

BV: If you ran into her, what would you say?
IV:
Hi. How are you? What do you mean what would I say? I don't have a significant relationship with Barbara Walters. I had a significant relationship with Oprah Winfrey.

BV: Why did you write the book?
IV:
I wrote the book because Tavis Smiley told me I had to write it. I was resistant to writing it. He told me that he was going to make me a deal that I could not refuse, and he did make me a deal that I could refuse. He offered me an opportunity to share my story in a very large way. He offered me an opportunity to earn an income at a time when I wasn't working, and he reminded me of my commitment and responsibility to healing the community and he fed me. He gave me food. He took me to a very nice restaurant. I love food.

BV: You were at the top of your game with a television show, New York Times Best Sellers; people definitely want to know, how did you go broke?
IV:
I had a daughter who suffered for 15 months of colon cancer in a country that does not think health care is a major issue. I didn't spend my money on jewels and furs. I spent my money taking care of my daughter for 15 months. She wasn't working. She had a daughter. She had a mortgage. She had a car. She went through a series of alternative health-care processes, which are not covered by health insurance. So, I used my money saving my daughter's life.

BV: In terms of you getting to a peaceful place with your daughter's death, did you have one moment when you realized you have to come out of the dark and get your life back together?
IV:
I don't know if it was one moment. Grief is a very powerful emotion, and as part of the natural grief process, you get to a point where you realize she's not coming back and what am I going to do? I had friends and people who refused to let me stay in a place where I couldn't continue in my life's purpose. That, I think, is what did it. This portrayal that I was rich and went broke. No, I spent three quarters of a million dollars trying to save my daughter's life.

BV: Have you been in any situation recently where you come into contact with some crazy mess and you handle it with such grace that you shock yourself with where you are in your life?
IV:
Yes. Last week, when I went through the airport and they decided they wanted to feel me up because I could have been hiding a bomb in my bra (laughs). And I resisted the urge to curse somebody out. I think that was a demonstration of how I've changed.

BV: You've always told it like it is, but that must come from your past, with being abused, losing your mother at 9; how often are you approached by people who share with you their personal stories and how you have helped them get through something?
IV:
I don't count, but there are stories. I'm just grateful that people trust me enough to share their stories. Every e-mail, every call, every letter, every gift. I honor it, and I value it. There are people who would love to experience the level of regard and respect that I have in the public, and I don't take it lightly at all.

BV: At one point, you were overweight and you spoke about how black people are dying from all types of illnesses they don't have to die from. How do you physically stay in shape and proactive with your health?
IV:
I don't know that I was ever overweight. I guess I was more substantial than most women, but as a black woman, you know we don't run a traditional size. I am a conscious eater. I don't eat red meat. Weight is a state of mind. It just shows up on your body. I think the more we heal the burdens of our pathology, the easier it is to stay in shape. I don't carry burdens. I don't carry shame. I don't carry fear. So my body just responds to that. Most of us are not overweight because of what we eat. We are overweight because of how we think.

BV: You are a fan of some of the reality television shows, like 'Project Runway,' 'Celebrity Apprentice' and 'Top Chef,' do you watch 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta'?
IV:
I don't watch anything that denigrates women and, particularly, black women. I have seen some episodes, and I just felt that it was very disparaging to us. So, I don't watch that.

BV: Are there any shows on television right now about black people that you love or some that you want to see on television?
IV:
We're kind of having a black-out. We don't see a lot of good positive stuff. There is some stuff on OWN that I watch and I appreciate, but it's kind of hard right now. I think that OWN is still developing. I think they are finding out their footing and they had to open up with something. I think the presence of celebrities is what they are using to bring viewers to the network, but I think eventually they are going to do fine. I really do.

BV: You've accomplished so much already. Just being back in the public light, what are you looking forward to doing the most that you haven't done yet in your career?
IV:
What I haven't done is retire, and I'm looking forward to it. I'm going to be more present for my grandchildren. Hopefully be in a loving, nurturing relationship. I'm going to do my scrap booking and make my soap. I'm having real fun doing that and whatever else shows up.

Iyanla Vanzant's 'Peace From Broken Pieces' is in bookstores nationwide now.

Comments: (45)

Add a comment

Page 5 of 5

Add a Comment

Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry. Email addresses are never displayed but they are required to confirm your comments. When you enter your name and email address, you'll be sent a link to confirm your comment, and a password. To leave another comment, just use that password."