The Fine Line Between Entertainment & Exploitation

by Demetria L. Lucas

DMXI’ve always liked DMX’s persona. That, of course, comes with some qualifiers. I had to ignore the violent and misogynistic imagery in most of his lyrics, which I was much more willing to do in X’s heyday a decade ago, than now.  I liked his music, like it still, for the growling voice over Swizz Beats lyrics, the passion X spits his lyrics, and the overall energy of his music, which unexpectedly, has held up over time.

But I digress.

Over a decade since his prime, the drum for DMX beats on. He’s as relevant as ever—but mostly for all the wrong reasons. Yes, he hopped on stage during the Alicia Keys’ concert at MSG and the crowd went wild. But these days, his name makes headlines usually for his latest arrests. The offenses include driving without a license, drug possession, animal cruelty and perhaps most baffling of all, impersonating a FBI agent. Then there’s his alleged ten children, most of which were conceived outside of his marriage, which still hasn’t been dissolved. His estranged wife, Tashera has been on “Starter Wives Confidential” discussing their relationship, and written a book about it. Together, they have been featured on “Couples Therapy”, then most recently on “Iyanla’s Fix My Life.”

In case his ongoing erratic behavior over the years didn’t clue you in that something is wrong with X, his appearance on the latter two shows, and specifically on Sunday’s Iyanla, Fix My Life should have. He was twitchy, nervous, switching seamlessly between shucking responsibility, martyrdom, rage, guilt tripping and rambling so much that Iyanla finally just asked DMX what everyone watching at home was thinking, “Are you high?”

He said, “no.” In a post-show interview with Jet magazine, X insisted again that he was sober. In a separate interview, his son, Xavier was asked if his dad was high and said, “I don’t know.” That Vanzant, or anybody else, even had to ask said enough. There was a collective agreement—on Black Twitter, at least— that he was lying anyway.

I don’t know exactly what is wrong with ol’ Earl “DMX” Simmons or what he needs. That’s over my head. But I know what he doesn’t need is cameras trained on him for viewers to sit at home and gawk at him, feel pity for him, or worse, laugh at his disease.

Whatever was going on during Sunday night’s show, whether X was, high and/or otherwise unwell, either from unresolved trauma or an undiagnosed disorder, he shouldn’t have been allowed on TV in that state of mind. Yes, I know X asked to participate, but someone with a level head should have turned him down to appear on camera, arranged a private consultation or at least delayed his appearance until he was clearly sober and tested to be sure.

That’s asking a lot of a producer who’s getting paid to give good show and knows DMX unhinged will make for remarkably more interesting TV than if he appeared clean. But when we’re talking about a man in the throes of addiction. Choosing “good” TV— where DMX will showcased his downfall, twitches, denial, flip outs and all— over the “right” thing to do is habitually line-stepping between entertainment and exploitation, perhaps even crossing it.

Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria), in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk

  • rastaman

    I liked DMX the artist and I have empathy for his situation but based on the most recent history dude is a co-conspirator in his “Exploitation Tour”. It would seem someone figured out that the best way to finance his life is to create this spectacle of his life. There is a short shelf life for this kind of stuff because just like a viewing a bad accident once viewers get over the novelty it quickly becomes sickening. If this dude is not being helped with his issues then he is being enabled to continue down this tragic path.

    It is too bad that we have devolved to a society where we put human suffering on display for entertainment. I guess it is more “panem et circenses” (bread and circus)

  • Sasha

    I just don’t know anymore like this could verge on exploitation but at the same time maybe it would maybe take seeing himself that way for him to recognize he really needs help. I’ve heard people with issues describe their actions as an out of body experience and then when informed about their behavior or shown pictures, even worse video, of their behavior, they are shocked and horrified. Maybe it won’t make him recognize he needs help but for someone else, seeing this could be an open door or window for them and make them finally get the help they need.

  • Drew-Shane

    I couldn’t agree. I know producers and shows want to draw ratings but definitely not over someone battling demons and drug problems. It wasn’t as hard to watch as Mia Campbell’s episode but I feel Iyanla shouldn’t diagnose these individuals on tv (even if it is or isn’t in her pay grade). These are some serious issues people like DMX are battling and having us gawk over the tv screen isn’t going to help him. I think they could have made a decision not to air the show after they saw the finished product.

    I do hope he gets better and we in the community can reach out to those who we know are in his position. I’m reaching for something good, that’s all I got.

  • PrincessDi81

    I watched this on Saturday and it was absolutely heartbreaking! My prayers go out to Xavier, D and just the entire family.

    It’s sad to see someone self-destructing that way.

  • Ooh La La

    Personally, I came to the conclusion while watching the episode with DMX that sometimes Iyanla intervenes in matters I don’t think she’s qualified to handle. She’s a “life coach” – something I’m not sure there are any criteria for other than giving decent sound advice and a listening ear. Yet, she often counsels her clients who have issues with drugs, molestation, etc. – issues I believe require attention of trained professionals, and certainly not to be remedied in 60 minutes.

    I did feel while watching the show that DMX was being exploited because he is someone with serious drug and abandonment issues and I believe that on some level Iyanla was aware that he needed more than she could offer. At one point, she even said that he needed to detox.

    All that said, I like Iyanla. I think she does a good job at mediating when people need to have difficult, important conversations with others and they need support. But, she has a show and everyone knows that a bit of messiness is never a bad idea for good tv ratings.

    Also, I think it speaks to an underlying issue in the black community specifically involving how we perceive mental health and therapy. There’s still a stigma attached to seeking help when it’s seriously needed.

  • Marketing Gimmicks

    I won’t attack Iyanla but the heart and spirit of this show was in the wrong place.

    I believe that “Fix My Life” needed a season opener and DMX walked into the perfect storm. He got the attention fix that has kept his name alive as a rapper through these rehab reality shows and Iyanla nabbed the human train wreck that is Dark Man X.

    There was nothing about this episode that FIXED his life and IMHO Iyanla did not do a good job at meeting Dark Man X’s core emotional wounds. She came at him with her Queen Afua hat & Ankh and didn’t even discuss this man’s childhood wounds in sincere depth. I mean I learned more about HIM watching VH1′s behind the music!

    This man was physically abused, neglected, abandoned, drank perfume cause his child stomach was so empty, got beat by tied up electric cords…and deeply wounded by his MOTHER and all Iyanla could come up with were the typical judgments and accusations that did nothing but trigger his disordered mind. Core wounds and bad behavior usually are rooted in severe childhood neglect & abuse. No it isn’t an excuse but DMX was not born that way…he was made that way.

    Yes. DMX is toxic, addicted and more than likely suffering from some kind of personality disorder but I truly believe that Iyanla did more harm than help. Perhaps her intentions were good but my heart tells me that she kinda played him and is now covering up her guilt with BS support hashtags and open letters after the fact.

    I truly respect your gift Iyanla but perhaps your need to please the boss of OWN came at DMX’s and his family’s expense.

  • james jones

    From what ive read about this iyanla person, her pay grade should be akin to a receptionist’s. Instead she’s playing a faux psychologist and “fixing” lives!!!
    She fits the profile of the charlatans oprah loves to promote to her gullible audience.
    Charlatans, demagogues, and emotional pimps usually have a fielf day in ignorant societies, so no wonder people like this iyanla and tyler perry et al are so succesful. Too many black people are always eager to swallow bs.

  • cynicaloptimist81

    + infinity, Marketing Gimmicks!

    …couldn’t have said this better myself.

  • Anthony

    Demetria Lucas shows that what Iyanla van Sant did with DMX was about her career, and not a serious attempt at helping a person with horrible problems. That is why I could not get upset about the language he used towards her. If DMX had been perfectly polite and lucid, the producers would have been sick to their stomachs because the “drama” would have been gone.

  • Esta Fiesta

    Can’t say I really agree. Sure, this man needs A LOT more help than Iyanla can offer in her 60 minute tough love sessions, but if nothing else this is a lesson for others. Sometimes watching yourself on TV makes you see yourself differently – hopefully X can view this and see all his twitching and destructive behavior. This is a good PSA about what doing drugs could lead to – I know if I were 13 and watching this I would NEVER set foot in a crackhouse for fear of turning out like him!! I also like her #supportDMX message. We tend to vilify our celebs who things like this such as Lindsay Lohan and Bobby Brown but what they really need is love and support.

  • Guess

    Very well said. I agree wholeheartedly. However, I don’t agree that Iyanla is in many ways “gifted” or that her heart is/was in the right place. She seems shady, disingenous & not secure in her theoretical foundation. Completely unqualified to address complex emotional/mental health issues such as personality & dual diagnoses.

  • Guess

    Agreed. However, Oprah had some serious misgivings about her for a very long time. They were in negotiations to develop a vehicle for Iyanla some years ago &.Iyanla ended up doing some shady mess to Oprah. I believe the only reason O even agreed to revisit working with her is because her network was struggling prior to a few high-profile interviews with Gabby, Rihamna, etc.

  • Pat

    The cost of entertainment is the cosigning to the downfall of society, but we (family & friends) provides the permission. From initiating it to maintaining it, entertainment comes first then souls are secondary. Souls aren’t being saved; they are being exploited for the sake of revenue. From X’s troubled pass and an obvious cry for help through his erratic behavior, there is no way he should have been on [anyone’s ] reality TV show. He needs professional help. While this was X’s choice, I still felt sad for him b/c his struggles were publically displayed which opened the door for more pain instead of healing.

    We can’t pass blame on the entertainment industry b/c we know they are in the “business” for profit. It’s not a surprise this has occurred. I believe if it wasn’t DMX, something as outrageous or just as sad would‘ve been aired. Again, in my opinion…it goes back to who are your people, your circle and/or your PR people? Not really comparing DMX to Whitney Houston, but when people are hurting or causing self-afflicted pain, I can’t help but wonder do you have anyone who truly loves you (enough) to intervene on (your) behalf. I know we can preach and preach to people all day long and some still will not change. At the same time, we know a money making industry will not stand up for you. And that is when our loved ones should step in. Maybe someone is helping DMX—but he just appears to be lost and crying for help which leads him helpless to the wolves (corporate profit). Likewise to the rap industry making money off of dehumanizing women, corporation profit off of low-cost labor, and so forth. This is why I say the cost of entertainment is the cosigning to the downfall of society, but we (family & friends) provides the permission. Corporations and most people will do anything or exploit anyone for money. At the end of the day, I’m hoping someone can intervene to help troubled people. If they don’t have anyone or don’t want to get help, there isn’t much we can do but voice our concerns to help the next victim of corporate profit. That is truly sad to watch people before your very eyes heading towards further despair. Last thought: but the reality shows are aware that this type of behavior is what makes ratings soar. What can you really do if the participant is willing?

  • Pat

    I won’t attack Iyanla but the heart and spirit of this show was in the wrong place. — I love this statement! Very well stated.

  • kiesh

    It was definitely exploitation and horrifying to watch. And all of us who watch this stuff are to blame because if it didn’t get ratings it wouldn’t be on tv. I really don’t see the point of exposing someone’s pathologies to the world for entertainment unless it’s going to benefit them. Clearly that’s not the case here. I won’t be watching anymore of this crap.

  • Shalia

    I don’t watch shows like this, and if others are serious about ending exploitation, then they should stop watching the show immediately. I will add that if the Fix my Life turned him down, he probably would have found another reality show to exploit himself with. Certainly someone in his life has mentioned drug addiction — but the real addiction for people on these shows is the pursuit of fame.

  • sapphiresandsisters

    I love DMX, even what Ms. Vanzant is trying to accomplish… But some things just shouldn’t be on TV. I feel like DMX is so used to being infront of the cameras and the public eye, that he doesn’t see the problem with it. You cannot heal a tortured and pained soul infront of the world, its just not sacred… And then he’s getting interviews nonstop asking him about the same things, which makes him re-live all of these situations.
    I didn’t like the way the episode came out, let alone the fact that it was on OWN… It did seem a little like he was being exploited. I would like to see DMX try to find himself in private and seclusion around those who care about him… Not infront of people that are trying to get ratings and a check. #supportDMX

  • Ladykultjah

    I don’t feel the same as most of posters. I like and know Iyanla is a psychologist and spiritual leader. DMX’s son is the one she was there to assist. Unfortunately, DMX is his father with a drug issue. I have experienced issues with a loved one with a drug addiction or disease. This is real and reality in the black community and the hip hop industry. I don’t view as exploitation at all. She’s helping someone heal.

  • Tina

    I liked the episode in that it showed the beginning of the healing process for the son. Hopefully, other relatives of toxic people watched it & gained that they can let go of the anger, stop being manipulated, and choose a path for their lives that lets go of toxicity even when it’s a close blood relation.

    DMX is what he at this point is but it seems that his wife & now his child have gained by going on reality shows with him and learning that they need to disengage from his madness for their own sakes & that is a powerful message.

    I know that DMX suffered an awful childhood but whenever I hear him speak about the pain he has inflicted and continues to inflict on people such as past robberies and failing to be a father his children I wince a little bit and my heart goes out to them. I hope the victims he has left in his wake have healed & can be whole in the future.

  • cosmicsistren

    I don’t feel that the show was in any way exploiting DMX. DMX is a troubled soul that not only has addiction problems but clearly has mental issues as well. He signed the paper agreeing to be on the show. If his own son feels that Iylanla didn’t make matters worse who are we to judge. I think Iylanla is getting a bad rap and it isn’t called for. I don’t think Ms. Lucas is any position to judge because I have read her answers to the formsprings questions posed to her and I feel she gives advice she knows nothing about (ie raising children). DMX was and is troubled whether the cameras were on him or not. He has done alot of damage to many people close to him and I don’t think anyone has tried to make him accountable of his actions the way Iylanla did.

  • tamar Cotton (@TamarM3)

    … i was crying when I saw the show but realized the biggest breakthrough came through w/ his son whereas it is not too late for him to change…Is it too late for DMX?….mayb! cuz he is a grown man. Was the show exploiting him?…mmm I would say not really, it can be a lesson learned by other individuals going through the same situation and it can be something DMX can look @ himself and analyze his situation.

  • Shirl

    Spiritual leader huh??? So was Jim Jones. I aint drinking her koolaid….

  • tamar Cotton (@TamarM3)

    …hey pat…@times there are pple who intervene to help but such ppl are so hurt they do not know who’s trying 2 help them vs those who r trying to hurt them. Case in point…I’m sure you saw the movie River Runs Wild where you had one brother who was a preacher trying to help his younger brother (Brad Pitt) with his destructive behavior but did not want his help and instead rebelled…The preacher’s wife in the movie asked her husband “how come ppl who need the most help dont except it”. That statement was so true. We all have uncles, aunts & cuzins in r family who have destructive behavior and rather than accept the help being offered to them they torture them with quilt for just trying to help

  • tamar Cotton (@TamarM3)

    …is it explotation if DMX agrred to the taping…moreover is it explotation if he went into the tapping “high” knowing that he was going 2 b confronted with situation from his past. In all honesty…i did drugs in the past and it triggers certain emotions. So i understand where he was coming from from an emotional standpoint. Keisha, im sure u have gotten drunk b4 right?.. Im sure that liquor brought up some memories from long time ago and u found urself either rejoicing or crying over it. I found myself drunk on Bourbon St. one day and crying on the shoulder of a tourist all because of emotions being brought up from long ago and eventually coming out but unto the shoulders of a visitor. This is what DMX is dealing with…The unfortunate thing is that he said himself “he does not want to 4get his past and he does not want to become sober” There is the issue. We all need a drink every once in a while however like Iyanla mentioned “he needs detox”.

  • Ladykultjah

    I think it is very crazy for you to compare Iyanla to Jim Jones. She doesn’t have a church of followers or brainwashing people, nor is she promoting herself as a cult leader…lol. Very distorted to compare the two individuals and actions.

  • Pat

    Yes… now that is an acute observation. Sometimes you can hurt sooo badly that the pain causes you to THINK everybody doesn’t mean you well and you refuse everybody’s help. Pain can make you shut off the entire world. So sad.

  • Shirl

    @ ladykultja-she’s brainwashed SOME of her viewers in to thinking she gives a damned. Jim Jones’ cups were filled with poison hers are full of bullsh** . She just does not seem genuine to me. I tried her show and after about 20 minutes of overly dramatic bad acting I couldn’t take anymore. I respect your right to gulp tho’

  • Wow

    That’s going to be Lil Wayne in 3 years.

  • Adiya

    Iyanla is a lawyer and a Yoruba priestess. She is not a psychologist.

  • Adiya

    Can you call Iyanla to fix your problem with Belle? You or someone with your screen name has been reaching when it comes to her for years. I followed her in blogspot days and you’ve been at it since then.

    I don’t agree with all of her perspectives, but I’ve never seen her give advice on parenting other than maybe don’t beat your kids, don’t curse your kids or defending Willow Smith. You have to be a parent to say that now?


  • Margaret

    I think the show was very important for many of us who are dealing with addiction as a family disease. DMX is real. Xavier is real. And what is happening to both of them is important to see so we can understand. I’m sorry that DMX is in full self-destruction but it was good for Xavier to face him. I was happy to see Xavier make boundaries for their relationship because that is so important for those of us who deal with the family disease of addiction.

    I hope Earl Simmons finds his way. He has a lot to offer.

  • cosmicsistren

    “Adiya” – I would call Iyanla because I think she is wonderful and I would seek her counsel anyday and not Ms. Lucas. Would you happen to have her contact information? I know your comment was throwing shade but to say I have been coming for her for “years” is reaching to say the least.

  • pinkslehuit

    I don’t feel comfortable jumping on the ‘bash Iyanla’ bandwagon. While she was certainly in over her head with this one, DMX is ultimately the one responsible for his on-screen breakdown, though she triggered it with her line of what he could’ve thought was aggressive questioning. If you pay attention, when he starts the show, he says he’s there to cure his addiction to women, not drugs or talk about his past. Where it got icky is when she tried to figure out why he is a womanizer and all the information about his mother, wife and son came out.
    Is Iyanla totally qualified to deal with his level of pain and clinical signs of mental illness? Absolutely not. Does that mean she has nothing at all to offer him? Absolutely not.

  • noir45

    I agree with the author and others that X’s situation is WAY over Iyanla’s head. He needs intense therapy, and, I believe, when he’s really ready (if he already isn’t), he need to immediately go get treatment.

    However, I do want to say this sad situation maybe should not have been televised, we still watched it. We are a nation, heck world, of voyeurs. I haven’t read all the comments, so someone may have already brought this up. How can we say, “Shame on them for airing this train wreck when we are spectators of it? Thanks to social media, everyone’s dirty laundry is being aired and smelled.

    Maybe we should first stop sniffing and then someone’s private lives won’t be so interesting. Just saying, ya’ll.

  • Cali

    “A River Runs Through It” is the title, one of my faves actually. Great observation :)

  • Cali

    I’m down w/ what Iyanla is trying to do – dude has too many problems, & he’s the one who claimed he wanted to get some problems solved. I don’t blame Iyanla at all for any of this mess!

  • aaliyah10

    I don’t think anyone was exploited. He’s grown and he knew what he was getting into. I watched the show and DMX was acting like a complete ass. I’m so tired of the ”rough childhood” stories and the blame game. This man has 11 children by multiple different women that he’s not taking care of, which means more black children are growing up without a stable father. It’s time for him to grow up and take some responsibility. Iyanla was showing him tough love and wanted him to face his demons. I liked her approach and I’m happy his son found some peace of mind

  • Just

    What is wrong with the younger generation? They think an attempt to help them is an attack…and they laugh at the most psychologically scarring behaviors? I think Vanzant, who saved her son from a life of drugs and incarceration, was honestly trying to help. The biggest lesson I took from this episode is that DMX just might die right before our eyes…because nobody – even publically – reached out. None of his peers even mention his name.

  • TajMarie

    Well said. I thought it was odd that Iyanla focused on everyone else in his life (wife, son, grandmother) with the exception of his mother. One of the things in the segment that stuck out to me was the fact that he stated that his mom sent him to a group home at the age of seven. To me, that was a red flag. No seven year old acts up to the point to where they are sent to a group home unless there is some kind of child abuse or child molestation. Also, after he stated that he was closest to his grandmother because he was “her baby”, I was asking myself how many hints did she really need to figure out that he clearly had issues with his mother. However, based on this omission, the narrative that was being suggested or implied was this notion that he was a difficult child whom his mother could not control and that all of his rage and behavior was of his own making. Make no mistake, he should have accountability for his actions and statement about being addicted to women did come off as BS. However, this segment had placed Iyanla in a bad light since common sense not only suggested that he needed to go into a sobriety program, but had to make peace with issues with his own childhood which could only be dealt with a trained psychiatrist prior to him even making amends with his own son. Moreover, I felt she insulted the intelligence of her viewing audience. Although I know that I am no expert on psychology, no issue appears out of the blue.

  • Lynne

    Oh, whatever.

    Black men have done an extraordinary job of exploiting the pathologies and issues of the black community, especially at the expense of black women and black youth. If Oprah and Iyanla are getting paid because a misogynistic, irresponsible, arrogant, drug-addled thug can’t shut up, then more power to those two.

    Exploit away, ladies. Exploit away.

  • justanotheropinion

    You can’t be exploited in the public eye if you don’t put your *ish on TV. If he truly wanted help (and not publicity and a payday), he could have gone to Vanzant on his own or any number of professionals. Don’t put your business in the street and then complain about how others see you. TV folks are there to get the ratings and make a buck – they don’t truly care about you. The worse off you are, the better the chance for higher ratings for them.

    DMX has some serious issues – but he’s a grown man. Take some responsibility for your own situation instead of blaming others. Funny, even as I typed that, I realize that taking responsibility is one of his many issues, but you get the point.

  • CeeCee

    I have to disagree with this article; DMX was not exploited. DMX is a drug addict and as a result of his drug usage, he has developed a multitude of mental health and physical health problems. I am glad that it was televised; it was not about entertainment, but about learning. There are a lot of black folks who are addicted to drugs and have mental health problems, but are hesitant to seek treatment.

    Also, I don’t understand why people are saying that Iyanla is not qualified. She has a Bachelor’s, Master’s (counseling), and a doctoral degree (law). Hell, most of the “counselors” on Intervention only have a mere certification.

  • Fantastico

    +1000 They were trying to help and empower him. He just wasn’t ready for that. He may never be ready.

  • Fantastico

    BTW where was all this concern when he was on white run tv shows (vh1)?

  • Fantastico

    Iyanla is a ordained minster and a lawyer. It’s fair to question her ability to act as a psychologist, but let’s be fair about her “pay grade” and accomplishments.

    She is imperfect, but far from a pulpit pimp.

  • Fantastico

    You have a pretty balanced argument. I’m not too sure I would say he is being exploited.

    Would you say the addicts on “Intervention” are being exploited?

    If DMX accepted help I believe Iyanla/OWN/Harpo would help get him into a recovery program.

  • Fantastico

    Oh wow I didn’t know she had a Masters in Counseling. I thought she only had undergrad and a law degree.

  • Shalia

    Excellent point, Fantastico. Also Black women’s weaknesses are exploited all day, every day on talk shows, reality shows, and court tv shows… but no hand wringing goes on about that. Why are we worrying about someone who has made a living making misogynistic stuff about women who look like us?

  • Get to the Choppa

    So does that make it right?

  • chinaza

    Iyanla means well but she was out of her depth. Drug abusers and persons with unstable mental illness cannot truly consent to an intervention because they lack insight and reality. They require formal psychiatric evaluation and treatment.
    So regardless of intent,the show was a mistake and against the best interests of all parties involved.

  • Shalia

    It doesn’t make it right, it makes it a low priority for a magazine that’s supposedly geared toward black women.

  • Niesha Gourdine

    you just have to pray for him. that is all

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  • Coccohanel31

    She did not exploit him because he was a willing participant. Anytime you agree to go on a “reality” show where you know the line of questioning , then you are agreeing to whatever the host brings.

    Like Steve Harvey said this morning the drugs and male pride got in DMX’s way and he didn’t wany anyone telling him what to do. How dare she!

    I feel most bad for his son, the family members of addicts suffer just as much as the addict, so I pray that he finds peace knowing his dad does NOT want to help himself. Nothing that happens is Xaviar’s fault at this point forward.

  • Cocochanel31

    True about an abusers inability to rationalize reasonably.

  • Ellis L. Abram

    Understand, while DMX is known for drug use and making bad decisions, everything we see about him in the media is not true. Understand he is under attack from an industry that does not like it’s dirty secrets exposed and that’s what he has done. My problem with this episode of this show is the true problem behind DMX’s behavior was not full realized, identified and explored. This is what happens to most men who grow up with no father. How is he supposed to learn how to be a man and a father when he has had no example to learn from. Most chaos in this world, comes from fatherlessness.

  • Ooh La La

    I would believe they were if they were not aware that their story would be televised, then yes.

    I believe he was exploited because Iyanla stepped in as though she would be able to help although she knew, on some level at least, that she was not qualified not trained to give him the help he really needed. Not only that but to televise the situation. When I try to think of a way that this episode would have turned out positively, I can’t – which makes me wonder why she would even step in herself instead of encouraging him to seek better help. If you even have to ask yourself whether he was intoxicated or not, you can tell that the first step in the battle would be becoming sober through rehab before he could begin to fix anything else.

  • DopaliciousTee

    This was just literally TOO MUCH FOR TV! It does not matter what was discussed or how Vanzant approached the issues because the truth is that DMX has too much to try to capture for prime time television. He needs therapy! This was known to Vanzant before she sat down with him and that fact is the only thing that bugs me about this episode. This is where it becomes exploitation. Sure, one could argue that every client Vanzant brings on the show has issues that may be helped by therapy, but anyone who knows X understands that there are layers upon layers to his problems — drugs, marriage, industry, etc. It was just too much.

  • NOitAll

    Waaah Waaah Waaah Blah Blah Blah. DMX didn’t have a daddy. Newsflash: there have been fatherless people since the beginning of time. Many men, and women, grow up without fathers and don’t act a fool. And God bless them, they actually have healthy relationships. It’s a struggle. But, relationships are always a struggle, father or no father. Nothing about being a human being is easy. But once you’re an adult, you’re in control. You choose the direction your life will take. DMX could have done what his own son decided to do, go down a different path. It’s time for DMX to take responsibility for his own life. His father is long gone, blaming him isn’t going to change a thing.

  • Shay

    I think not having a father may have played a role in his behavior, but I think that the fact he believes his mom abandoned him did more harm.

  • Ana

    Ridiculous! Does anyone actually think that Iyanla is helping people as opposed to providing entertainment? No one gets help from a TV show!

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  • Krysta

    What I think is actually silly is that they should be expected to drug test a grown person who says they aren’t high. It’s not their responsibility to guard his reputation for himself, it’s not the 30s. Regardless of if we are all certain he is, he said he wasn’t high, he embarrassed himself and its no on else’s fault. If you really want to help him, to the author, stop patronizing his music and making it seem like his mysogonistic lyrics are ok and maybe he will make a change, but probably NOT bc that’s what addicts DO.

  • Lq

    What exactly is Black Twitter?

  • Chocl8child

    Was it exploitation when he was on Couples Therapy acting a plum fool?

  • Mildred

    DMX earlier reported that he suffers from bipolar disorder. But some of his comments confuse it with personality disorder. But if either diagnosis is accurate, DMX is suffering from dual diagnosis, with the mental health disorder feeding the drug addiction and vice versa, a perfect storm. I am sure that Iyanla Vanzant means well, but this is a problem that shouldn’t be tackled on reality television.

    This is especially true because there is a great deal of misunderstanding about mental health issues in our community. The beliefs that mental health problems are character flaws or purely spiritual concerns has had devastating consequences. I would have been much more comfortable if the show included this context along with at least referral information to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, for example.

  • Anita

    It’s damned if you do and damned if you dont. Had the OWN Network or Iylana said no to his request, then that would have been a whole ‘nother controversy. He needs help and maybe this self-inflicted public humiliation is what will propel that action. I’m just sayin’

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