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Iyanla Vanzant returns & tries to fix Atlanta reality show star Neffe's marriage

This was posted on Saturday, April 15, 2017 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

"Everybody wants to be a reality star. They have no concept what is real and what isn't. That's the problem."

That's life coach Iyanla Vanzant speaking truth regarding a lot of people who enter this world as she starts her latest season of OWN's "Iyanla: Fix My Life' on Saturday at 9 p.m. Atlanta's Neffeteria "Neffe" Pugh lived off the shine of her more talented and famous sister Keyshia Cole on Cole's reality show a decade ago and her own reality show with her mom Frankie Lons.

And Vanzant minces no words, based on the trailer, calling Neffe "a nasty, vile, guttersnipe right up out the hood." Wince.

Neffe and her husband Sheldon are seeking guidance as their marriage is crumbling due to financial problems and health issues. (He had a heart attack at age 42.) As the promo notes, Iyanla helps Shelby find the courage to confront Neffe about her alcohol abuse and combative ways in hopes of building a solid future for their family.

Vanzant said Neffe reached out to her. She believes reality TV placed additional pressures on their marriage. "She wanted some help moving through that," she said.

But Neffe had a fair amount of self delusion, Vanzant said: "In her mind, she was an entertainer. She hadn't really developed a skill set that could support her in maintaining a viable life."

Her sister Keyshia does not appear. "This show is about Neffe's marriage. It has nothing to do with her sister."


Vanzant knows the title of her show is a little hyperbolic. She doesn't expect miracles every time: "I give people information. I support them in developing another perspective. The work begins after I leave. They have to put into practice what is offered."

The most emotional episode will be the final one, she said, focused on victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting last June.

"We went to the nightclub," she said. "We spoke to some of the people who are still working with the families. It was a very deeply profound experience for me."

She also wondered: "What is the level of support and therapy and assistance you need when you've been laying on the floor of dead bodies and the media is gone. What happens then?"

I wondered about Jay Williams, an Atlanta man she spent multiple episodes trying to help a couple of years back. He had 34 children with 17 different women and almost ended up with his own reality show. She said he has chosen not to work with her anymore. She knows he's dealing with an ailing mom. She's not sure what his relationships are now with his kids.

One of her most infamous episodes featured rapper DMX  from 2013. That is one person she chooses not to contact ever. "I was very clear with him: 'You will never have the opportunity to speak to me again.' I’ve honored that boundary for myself."


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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.