In the premiere of her new series, author Iyanla Vanzant confronts the heartbreak and domestic tragedy faced by “Basketball Wives” star Evelyn Lozada, estranged wife of NFL star Chad Ochocinco Johnson.
Part 1 of the premiere episode was taped four weeks prior to the highly publicized domestic violence dispute that tore the couple apart just 41 days after the two wed.
"You are in trouble, girl,” Iyanla told Evelyn just weeks before the alleged incident. After the shocking accusations of domestic violence came to light, Iyanla reconnected with an emotionally raw Evelyn in New York for a no-holds-barred conversation that details the eye-opening events of the night that led Evelyn to file for divorce.
"Iyanla: Fix My Life" is the reality you have never seen before, “It’s not passive television. It’s participatory,” said Iyanla at a recent event. “I’m not here to do TV; I’m really here to do healing.”
The show premieres this Saturday on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network, and the media mogul cosigned Iyanla’s sentiment that it’s like nothing she’s ever produced or seen.
“It has everything that viewers love in a reality show, those draw-dropping moments that cause you to say, ‘I can’t believe I’m watching this on television,’ and it also has everything that I love about the power of television: entertainment plus ‘a ha’ moments. There’s not a show—and I’ve seen at this point about five of them—that you don’t come away from being a voyeur in someone else’s life, but getting something for your own life, and I feel that’s the best combination of what television does,” Oprah said on "Good Morning America."
Not every episode features a celebrity. However, Iyanla believes viewers will relate to Evelyn just as they will the lesser-known guests on her show.
“Evelyn is every woman. She’s made mistakes that every woman has made. She’s got a story that many women live. We want to bring that and the lessons she’s learning, the healing she needs to the ‘Iyanla: Fix My Life’ audience,” Iyanla told "GMA."
Earlier this week when asked whether or not she believed Evelyn had changed as a result of her healing session, Iyanla replied, “She has changed. Otherwise she would have stayed with him. We’ve allowed the industry to glorify dysfunction. Before we get angry and turn our nose at our sisters we have to see what they need and what they are crying out for. After getting a glimpse of Evelyn on ‘Basketball Wives’ it surprised me that she was so vulnerable. Reality television has too much power.”
Although the new show is targeted toward all ethnic groups and sexes, Iyanla did have a specific message for Black women.
“Women heal when we gather," said Iyanla at Tuesday’s event. “That’s what ‘Fix My Life’ is for. It is a way for Black woman to get below the surface and begin healing. My prayer is that it will not only be participatory but it will begin to start conversations. We need to start calling people. Every woman is a midwife for the woman coming behind us."
The OWN network has struggled to achieve the kind of success that Oprah’s talk show did, but she said the channel has turned a corner.
“We have made the pivot. It’s been really an exciting challenge, and I am so really happy to announce to the world that we have made the pivot and Iyanla is a part of that. She has been my biggest supporter since the very beginning,” said Oprah who also had a few words to share about Evelyn.
“People love to hate Evelyn Lozada,” said Oprah who predicted that viewers will change their opinion after watching the show. “They come away feeling something different after watching that tape.”
Check out a preview of the premiere.
Read Oprah and Iyanla’s tweets below.
See photos of Evelyn with Pilar Sanders, Toya Wright, Shaunie O’Neal and more!
Photos: Evelyn Lozada
Will you tune in to watch the two-part special this weekend? Do you believe Evelyn is a changed woman? Have you been watching more OWN? Leave your comments below.