Life coach Iyanla Vanzant believes in the power of expression, but there’s one thing she will not tolerate in her presence: women name-calling other women.
It’s an issue that Iyanla has had to confront head-on lately, as she explores the myth of the angry black woman on her series, “Iyanla: Fix My Life.” When eight “angry” women come together work on their issues in Iyanla’s House of Healing, conflicts in the house give way to name-calling. As Iyanla tells the women, that ugliness will not be glossed over.
“It’s not OK for me in a conversation to hear one woman call another woman a ‘bitch’ and we just keep on moving like we reading the news,” she says. “That’s a violation.”
Iyanla then shares a deeply personal story to explain why she has such a strong reaction to women using derogatory terms toward each other.
“See, my grandmother was half-black and half-Native American, and she scrubbed toilets and cooked people’s food for a living. And she was called a lot of names,” Iyanla says. “She couldn’t respond when they called her a ‘squaw’ and a ‘savage’ and a ‘bitch’ and a ‘negress.’ She couldn’t respond! She had to clean their toilets, take care of their babies and cook their food, so that me and my brother could eat. So when I see us ― 21st-century women with apartments and cars and degrees ― doing that to each other, I have a problem. I have a problem.”
Everyone in the room is quiet, some teary, as Iyanla delivers one more line to finalize her point.
“Maybe if you knew what your grandmother had to do to feed your mama, maybe if you understood that, you’d think twice before you call another woman not her name.”
“Iyanla: Fix My Life” continues exploring the myth of the angry black woman in part two of a four-part special inside her House of Healing. Tune into OWN on Saturday, Sept. 17, at 9 p.m. ET or catch full episodes on demand via the Watch OWN app.
Another personal story from Iyanla: