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Iyanla Vanzant kicked off a firestorm after her comments about the #BlackLivesMatter movement went viral. In a recent Essence Magazine article, Vanzant questioned “what is the ask” from the movement and where is the movement’s leadership?

From Essence Magazine:

The way Iyanla Vanzant sees it, the Black Lives Matter movement is in need of an intervention and the self-help guru believes she knows just where to start.

“We’ve got to stop talking about it and really start doing the work about it,” Vanzant said recently while promoting the upcoming third season of Iyanla: Fix My Life, which premieres on OWN Saturday Sept. 19. “What is the ask? Black lives matter, therefore we ask …?” she continued.

“What are we saying? What does that mean? Taking the moment and making it a movement requires some level of action and, unfortunately, some level of leadership, which is a problem for us.”

Friday, on TV One’s NewsOne Now, Roland Martin questioned Vanzant about her remarks quoted in Essence. Vanzant told Martin, “I was referencing the fact that as a member of the community, I didn’t know what the ask is.”

“You’ve (Roland Martin) covered it, but is it being promoted, is it out there? I don’t know what the ask is, that’s number one. Number two, in terms of leadership, I haven’t heard any of our elected officials — this weekend is the Congressional Black Caucus — I’m not hearing our officials honoring the people’s voice.

“The people are saying Black Lives Matter, but I don’t hear the elected officials saying that. I don’t hear them promoting it.”

Martin pushed back, explaining Thursday’s Congressional Black Caucus townhall meeting focused “specifically” on the Black Lives Matter Movement. Martin went on to say, “Members of the Black Caucus have been meeting with, communicating with, planning with various organizers” of the movement.

Vanzant also questioned if the movement was “willing and ready to do the work required” in order to take this moment and turn it into a movement. She added, “one of the things that we have to do is have a clear ask.”

“Now I consider myself both a leader and an elder in this community, I do a lot of grassroots work and I’m telling you, maybe we just want to consider how we can do a better job about letting the average, everyday person know,” she continued.

“I didn’t know and I’m in the DMV area, so what’s the Black Lives Movement here and as an elder in the community, what’s the ask of me?”

Watch Roland Martin, Iyanla Vanzant, and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the Black Lives Matter movement in the video clip above.

TV One’s NewsOne Now has moved to 7 A.M. ET, be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.


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What Is The Ask: Iyanla Vanzant Addresses #BlackLivesMatter Controversy  was originally published on