Maia Campbell appeared on a special episode of Iyanla Vanzant’s “Iyanla Fix My Life” franchise called “Iyanla, Fix My Fallen Star.” The airing was anticipated highly as viewers were eager to see what had become of the actress. Campbell was first introduced to the public on the popular 90s sitcom, “In The House” before her reputation was tarnished with rumors of prostitution and drug abuse.
On the hour-long show, Vanzant delved into the actress’ past including her relationship with her late mother, New York Times best-selling author Bebe Moore Campbell, and her inability to play an active role in raising her own daughter.
The episode was powerful but many viewers took issue with Vanzant’s approach because of Campbell’s bipolar disorder. Elle of Five East Tumblr writes in an open letter to Iyanla Vanzant:
[Maia] is diagnosed bipolar and is living in a facility that helps her manage her life. Bi-polar is not just a PART of the problem. Bi-polar is the axis on which her life rotates. All of her issues stem from her mental illness. A mental illness that you have no experience in dealing with or treating. What you did to that woman was irresponsible and DANGEROUS. [...] Thank GOD she was medicated because showing her those pictures of herself was enough to trigger a manic or depressive episode. I know because I’ve had manic and depressive episodes. And unlike you, I know enough to know you don’t f*** with the stability of a person just cuz you can.
It’s true that when a subject struggles with mental health, one should be experienced and qualified before aiming to treat or “fix” his/her issues. It’s debatable whether Iyanla’s approach did more harm than good.