In a 2013 interview with MadameNoire, Iyanla Vanzant said in no uncertain terms Black women were out of order. Eight years later, the spiritual teacher whose OWN series Iyanla: Fix My Life is coming to an end this Spring, feels just as strongly about that statement as she did then.
“We’re still out of order,” Vanzant tells ESSENCE when asked about that viral moment. “I think because we get paid to be out of order now. [Because of] some of the images that we allow to be portrayed of us. Some of the ways that we behave and treat each other publicly,” she explains of her stance.
Acknowledging that “we’ve made a lot of progress,” the TV host adds, “I think on a personal level down on the ground, we still need to do some work. And I don’t blame us. I just say that the way that we’ve been conditioned and programmed and educated doesn’t afford us the ability to really tap into and live fully who we are. And then we engage in bad behavior.”
On Saturday, Vanzant opens her final season in conversation with LisaRaye. While the actress previously appeared on the show to heal her relationships with her mother and her daughter, this time around she’s focusing on herself — something the life coach would argue all women need to do.
“This is hard. It’s hard because I love us and so I want to fully step into my role as an elder and be able to say things you may not like but you will at least respect,” Vanzant goes on. “The way we are moving in the world – it’s time for us to close our legs; close your legs open your heart. Let’s get clear before we make the same mistakes over and over and over.”
Speaking specifically about romantic relationships, she adds, “The men are trying to get themselves together but we are so far ahead of them and we don’t really occupy that space and so we keep getting in these transient relationships, bringing children in when we’re unprepared, they’re unprepared. The number of children in foster care, the number of children in difficult situations – I know what it’s like to start out thinking everything’s gonna go well then a year, two years in you’re like ‘what happened?’ So we’ve gotta be a little more prepared on the front end so we don’t have so much difficulty on the backend. I say that because I love us and I love children and I just want us to do better.”
Check out our full conversation with Vanzant in the video above. The final episodes of Iyanla: Fix My Life will begin airing on Saturday, April 10 at 9 pm on OWN.