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Iyanla and DMX: Entertainment or Exploitation?

Iyanla interviews DMX (right) and his son Xavier (OWN Network)
Iyanla interviews DMX (right) and his son Xavier (OWN Network)

In a piece for Clutch magazine, The Root's contributing editor Demetria L. Lucas says the rapper clearly needs something, but it's not for us to gawk and laugh at his situation.

I don't know exactly what is wrong with ol' Earl "DMX" Simmons or what he needs. That's over my head. But I know what he doesn't need is cameras trained on him for viewers to sit at home and gawk at him, feel pity for him, or worse, laugh at his disease.

Whatever was going on during Sunday night's show, whether X was, high and/or otherwise unwell, either from unresolved trauma or an undiagnosed disorder, he shouldn't have been allowed on TV in that state of mind. Yes, I know X asked to participate, but someone with a level head should have turned him down to appear on camera, arranged a private consultation or at least delayed his appearance until he was clearly sober and tested to be sure.

That's asking a lot of a producer who's getting paid to give good show and knows DMX unhinged will make for remarkably more interesting TV than if he appeared clean. But when we're talking about a man in the throes of addiction. Choosing "good" TV — where DMX will showcased his downfall, twitches, denial, flip outs and all — over the "right" thing to do is habitually line-stepping between entertainment and exploitation, perhaps even crossing it.


Read Demetria L. Lucas' entire piece at Clutch magazine.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

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