After numerous commercials depicting rapper DMX cursing at OWN's Iyanla: Fix My Life host Iyanla Vanzant — and her stopping him in his tracks — the highly anticipated episode aired on Saturday. Just before its debut, Vanzant spoke to Essence about the show's direction and lessons.
ESSENCE.com: What made you choose DMX?
IYANLA VANZANT: His ex-wife [Tashera Simmons] wrote in and asked if we would be able to support him. And then he agreed that he needed some support and would do the show. The biggest difficulty was just his capacity to be vulnerable and to speak honestly about what was going on with him.
ESSENCE.com: Where do you think DMX went wrong?
VANZANT: I don't think that he went wrong. All of us have ways in which we mask and cover our pain. This is a man who is in a tremendous amount of pain. Some of us eat; some of us shop or eat chocolate. What he is doing is a less socially acceptable way to mask and cover his pain because he doesn't have the skills and the tools to deal with it otherwise. So I don't think he went wrong, it's just a defense mechanism …
ESSENCE.com: Did you walk away feeling like you had a breakthrough?
VANZANT: Sometimes you go on to do one thing and something else unfolds. When you're dealing with the ravages of long-term drug abuse you're also dealing with the impact of the entire ecology of the environment. What we discovered was that the greatest healing was for his son Xavier who had not had the ability to address what he was feeling about his father. Xavier really got the biggest breakthrough.