An open letter has been written to Iyanla Vanzant and Oprah Winfrey by the oldest daughter of the man who had 34 kids. Jay Williams was a ratings bonanza for Oprah and Iyanla, earning them millions of dollars in advertising revenue for their network.
There have been five episodes run on this topic, with another one in the works. So, you could say that the company milked the cow for what it’s worth. But are “Fix me” shows really an opportunity to let the rest of the world shake their heads in shame while mulling over someone’s personal tragedy, all for the sake of entertainment?
The oldest of Jay’s kids, 26-year old Amina Mosley, gave Iyanla credit for helping her father. But she seems to feel that the show didn’t go far enough to do much of anything for the kids whose lives have been harmed by their father’s reckless decisions.
“Dear Ayanla, Thank You for ‘Fixing’ My Father,” was the original title of her letter.
“When I was asked to participate [on the show], I was apprehensive simply because I was not buying it. There was no way that anyone could ‘fix’ my Father. His poor choices have disappointed me and so many others countless times, and I never thought the day would come where he would truly have the opportunity to face his demons… I left Atlanta feeling frustrated,” she said.
So, all seems well in the letter at first. However, Mosley lays out an interesting reservation toward the end, one that seems to be saying that the producers of the show were more motivated by self-interest than actually helping the families that were giving them such high viewership on-air.
“With all of that being said, I want to say thank you for fixing my father. You have done a remarkable job in helping him to feel better about himself, while unfortunately further enabling his false sense of reality. The reality is that he still has not been held accountable, so I am encouraging you to ask yourself ‘what about the children?’”
Another one of Jay’s many many children, Chanelle Williams, has launched a GoFundMePage, saying that everyone has benefited from the show except for she and her siblings.
On the page, she says, “The show has made our father a household name, garnered Iyanla her highest ratings ever and greatly benefitted OWN, but what about us?”
Financial Lovemaking lessons from this story:
1) Poor family planning is one of the keys to generational poverty. When a man spreads his seed in a sloppy way, he creates a very ugly financial and emotional situation. The courts are going to take most of his disposable income, making it very difficult for him to settle down and start a new family later on down the road. With black men having the highest unemployment rate in the country, this only serves to make a bad predicament worse and also make black men that much more difficult to marry. Let’s not even talk about the STD situation from having all that unprotected sex.
2) The children suffer the most in these many-kids scenarios, since they too are statistically targeted for poverty after being stuck in a single parent household. Though this isn’t true in all cases, black single parent families are among the poorest in the nation. It’s easier to provide and care for children when both parents are involved. When you’ve got 34 kids, it’s nearly impossible to be even a shadow of a father to your many, many constituents.
3) “Fix Me” shows by Iyanla and Dr. Drew may provide productive learning experiences. However, some might say that they represent reality TV for people who feel they are too good to watch shows like “Love & Hip-Hop.” Sometimes, it’s easier to pull out your popcorn and watch someone ruin their lives if you feel that you’re somehow there to try and help them. The healthy part of Iyanla’s show is not what brings in the fans; it’s typically the drama. This fact puts added pressure on the network to ensure that when the lights and cameras are off and money isn’t being made, they are actually giving these families access to the kind of long-term care that will truly improve their situation. Otherwise, OWN could be accused of using their misfortune in order to make a buck.