6 Black Men, 87 Children Between Them: Iyanla Vanzant Intervenes

Emotional national discussion about the responsibilities of fatherhood

(Image: Harpo Studios, Inc./George Burns)

In an “Iyanla: Fix My Life” special television event on OWN, spiritual life coach Iyanla Vanzant once again came face-to-face with Jay, who says he fathered 34 children with 17 different women and whose story was featured over the past several weeks in a much-discussed “Fix My Life” “mega-fix.”

Following Iyanla’s discussion last week with an all-female studio audience and several of the mothers of Jay’s children, Jay returned this past Saturday to update Vanzant. Viewers soon learn that his situation is not completely uncommon, as he was joined by five other men who in total (including Jay) claim to have 87 children with 50 different women.

In an emotional, tear-filled discussion and impromptu healing session, Vanzant, with guest expert Jeff Johnson, guide the six men and a predominantly male studio audience in a “deep-dive” discussion about the responsibilities of fatherhood.  For many of the men, it was the first time they have been able to share their own feelings and pain in a supportive environment, noted Vanzant. Her intention was not to place blame for failures, but rather to begin a framework for support and healing with the intended goal of making men better fathers and to break an all-to-common cycle of fathers not stepping up to the plate, the network released in a statement.

The episode focusing on Jay is among OWN’s most highly watched programs. Neilsen reports that 1.15 million total viewers tuned into the show that aired September 20th, delivering a .99 rating for OWN, making it the highest rated episode since November 2013 and the third most watched episode in the history of the Iyanla Fix My Life series on OWN. The episode was also most-watched telecast on all of TV for African-American viewers and the #1 ad-supported cable telecast for all African-American women.

OWN’s current season average is up double-digits in women 25-54 (+67%) and total viewers (+63%) over last season. An additional installment of the TV special, continuing the men’s discussion, will air next Saturday, October 11 at 9:00 PM ET/PT.

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  • CarlaKah

    I live abroad, where can I see this episode?

  • Joseph W Green

    If their was any body, that I want to meet. It’s Ivanyla Vanzant. Your show open up some things in me, about my life. With my own father and mother, even I they’re dead and gone. Thank you.
    Because I’ m truly confuse with in myself. I had 7 Sisters, 3 Brothers. The 2 oldest was from two other women. And my mother had 8. I’ am the youngest boy. And the only one of all the men in my immediate family, that Graduated from high school, pursued college. But my problem is my dad did even get to finish school at 9 years old, and my mother stop when she was in the 9th graded. My oldest brother got killed an a gambling debt in Tyler, Texas back the mid 1990’s. and the oldest sister and child on my mother side. Was found Dead in her house, on December 11, 1996. But they all looked dwn on me because I’ am Gay. Help me.