The second part of the emotional chat between two long lost television friends airs today. A number of viewers couldn’t stomach the first episode and turned it off.
Groveling, insincere and charlatan are among the worst adjectives followers used to describe Vanzant after watching the five-time New York Times best-selling author’s conversation with Oprah last week. Iyanla swore on the soul of her dead 31-year old daughter that she had no intentions of issuing Oprah an ultimatum to garner a television deal eleven years ago. Most viewers didn’t respond well to that.
Kinder viewers are elated at Iyanla’s return and won’t turn their back on the artist and spiritual healer who has penned over one dozen books. Iyanla’s appearance on the Oprah Show today and last week coincide with Iyanla’s latest book, 'Peace from Broken Pieces.'
In the book, Iyanla explains that during the height of her fame and fortune she lost her spiritual self. A candid reveal from a woman whose television, book and speaking career centered on her profound ability to help others renew their spiritual selves.
On the set with Oprah, it was confounding for viewers to see Iyanla beg Oprah for forgiveness. Some say that Iyanla’s rift with Oprah and Oprah executives was a big communication failure. Others say Vanzant was short-sighted and arrogant.
However, 57-year old Vanzant, who was born Ronda Eva Harris in Brooklyn, NY, says she was simply inexperienced. Vanzant says that when the rift occurred, she did not know enough about television to make the decisions she did.
Those decisions were the beginning of the end for Iyanla, but the point was moot with Oprah.
Oprah didn’t give Iyanla a talk show back then because Oprah and her staff felt Iyanla wasn’t ready. The eleven-year rift is the result of Oprah declining to “give” Vanzant her own television show. At the time Vanzant had made some 20 appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show in two seasons. Vanzant was so popular with Oprah fans and reading audiences, Barbara Walters offered Vanzant a talk show.
Iyanla’s success fell apart after soon her merger with Barbara Walters, a woman that Vanzant described on the Oprah Show as “big.” The "Iyanla" show lasted one year. Iyanla said in interviews that she did not wish to renew the show.
Hearing Vanzant refer to Walters as “big,” some fans feel, was an insult to ‘Oprah.” Many feel Oprah is as huge of a talk show mogul today as she was back then and feel it is inexcusable for Iyanla not to have recognized that.
Other fans wrote that Barbara Walter’s culpability in the decline of Iyanla Vanzant’s television career was rooted in a deep jealousy or dislike that Walters has for Oprah, even though fans feel Oprah has an unconditional admiration for Walters.
If indeed not recognizing Oprah’s power was a sin that warrants forgiveness, Iyanla certainly apologized to Winfrey. Winfrey said no apologies were necessary. Oprah also strongly suggested that Iyanla should have known she was forgiven eleven years ago.
That comment threw another segment of Oprah fans for a loop. Iyanla appears to equate forgiveness with reunion. Business minded viewers say that is simply delusional.
Today, Iyanla discusses her failed marriage. Between 2000 and 2003, Vanzant had a series of triumphs, all of which ended in disaster. She lost $23 million dollars, she lost her million dollar home in Maryland due to foreclosure, her two siblings died, and then her daughter died in 2003.
Vanzant said people sent her money in the mail because they thought she was homeless.
Vanzant has talked candidly about her experiences with a balloon mortgage, her daughter’s unsuccessful and fatal battle with colon cancer in an 2009 interview in The Root. She'll revisit that painful period today on Oprah.
Read an excerpt from Vanzant's latest book here. Vanzant's candid discussion on the Winfrey rift inside of the book prompted the invite from Oprah.