Film — 14 April 2013
DMX’s Life Needs Fixing, But Not by Iyanla Vanzant

It’s been over a decade since Iyanla Vanzant blew onto the pop culture scene.

Ushered in by Oprah, the growly voiced, buzz-cut favoring self-help guru is known for her tell it like it “t-i-s” approach and spine cracking hugs.

Iyanla Vanzant and Will Moorehead hugging

The former attorney-turned-TV star has a penchant for helping folks recognize the damage they do to themselves and others, most recently through her OWN-TV “Iyanla: Fix My Life” show.

And then there was X.

DMX, one of my personal favorites from the 90s, has — to paraphrase A$ap Rocky and ‘nem– f@@&ing problems.  He has struggled publicly with substance abuse, repeat incarcerations, and an unsavory history with the pitbulls that inspire his trademark lyrical barks and growls.  He has a marginal understanding of technology, and he battles personal demons that have ruined his marriage to the love of his life, in addition to his relationship with local and federal authorities.

He needs help, for sure.

But he was clearly not willing to take it from Iyanla during the season premiere that originally aired on OWN on April 13.

And it seems that for all her insight, the straight-talking star– who was originally supposed to help DMX just with his womanizing ways– did not know that she was about to unleash his inner Damien by delving into his substance abuse.

Now, after what is by all accounts a disastrous FAIL of the “Fix My Life” variety, Vanzant is attempting to get DMX to see the error of his ways (and outburst) with some hashtag on Twitter called #supportDMX.

Um.  Good luck with that.  Here are the six ways she went waaaaaay wrong.

1. I’m a Let You Finish

Iyanla went full Kanye West on DMX within the first few moments of the program, as he attempted to tell her the sad tale of his upbringing, shuttled off to a group home at seven.  Overcome with emotion and wracked with sobs, Dark Man X was fully into his exposition when a seemingly impatient Iyanla broke in and pretty much asked that he exit the woe-is-me spiral.  The look on his hollowed out face was clear that she hurt his feelings deeply and it wasn’t gonna go good from that point on.

2.  Come Clean

DMX has been on that stuff for quite some time.   He owns this and his rap sheet shows this.  You cannot command a person who has struggled with cocaine and crack to instantly also get rid of drinking, weed and even a cigarette– all in one take.  And this ain’t “Intervention.” That airs on A&E, not OWN. I understand that Iyanla’s efforts were to help him see that his thoughts might be clouded by substances, but when it comes to the king o’ pitbulls, pacing is key.

3.    Mother, May I?

I am no psychologist, but then again, neither is Iyanla and that doesn’t stop her.  So, here’s my theory:  I found that in the “Couples Therapy” show, D seemed more receptive to the counselor, though the effort evidently didn’t work.  He and estranged wife Tashera Simmons do not speak, according to what he said on “Fix My Life.”  But I think that Iyanla represented the older Black women in his life, including his mother, who judged him harshly and abandoned him.  He had been looking to get even for some time, it appears, since he called the show host the b-word like she was Katt Stacks, rather than a village elder.

4.  Picture Pages

No, Iyanla did not make a montage of his mugshots and show it to him from behind some raggedy curtain.  No. She. Did. Not.  She best thank Gawd she is still alive because the fire in X’s eyes scared me all the way from TV land.  I damn near hid behind the couch.

5. Family Business

None of us lived in the Simmons household, so we can’t say for certain, but it feels like it was ridiculous for Iyanla to intervene in DMX’s already tumultuous relationship with his son.  Or it may have been the way she intervened.  I liked the way she worked with his son, Xavier, to get him ready to face his father, i.e. pointing out that the rapper is essentially diseased due to substance abuse and didn’t have a father of his own to teach him the ropes.  But I fully disagree with her babysitting the 20-year-old man as he talked to the dad who so clearly misses and loves him.  DMX’s tearful embrace of his oldest son from the onset of their encounter showed he really wanted a relationship, but Iyanla sat there like a social worker on some supervised visitation ish, stage-whispering platitudes for Xavier to parrot.  And foolishly, Xavier repeated what she was saying…even though it was clear that it wasn’t helping matters.  I truly believe that conversation should have been just the two of them, on camera, if need be.  But the mediator-style setup probably sent Earl Simmons over the motherfreaking edge.  And I do think his overgrown pup (an aspiring singer/guitarist) needs to locate his cojones and speak to his father again– this time, sans that damn guitar and camera crew.

6.  Social Media #Support

We all knew the DMX intervention went south from the promos, but I do hope Miss Ma’am knows she didn’t fix anything with that overlong introductory plea to DMX to get his life right and insisting she still has love for him.  Her suggested #supportdmx hashtag came off as a thinly veiled advertisement for the episode.  Gawd knows he didn’t see it.  Her producers should have told her dude doesn’t even understand how Google works. (Check the video below.)  What? Did she think he was doing to DM her an apology?

Your turn: What did you think of the DMX-centric episode of “Fix My Life?”  And don’t try to pretend you didn’t watch it.  I know you DVR’d that joint, so ‘fess up.  Was she out for ratings or truly there to help Earl Simmons?




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