As you know, actress Maia Campbell is scheduled to appear on a special segment of Iyanla Vanzant’s popular “Fix My Life” series, called “Fix My Celebrity Life” The Priestess herself, was here yesterday to talk about it.
Campbell was the star of the popular ‘90s sitcom, “In The House.”
The last time most of us heard or saw Campbell, it was not good at all. About three years ago she was in the news for a viral video that caught her behaving bizarrely, amidst rumors of drug abuse and prostitution.
It should be a fascinating show, and I certainly hope and pray she has moved beyond her troubles to reclaim her life.
That said, I want you to notice what I did not say. I purposely did not say I “hope and pray Campbell has moved beyond her troubles to reclaim her career or celebrity.”
It’s not that I wouldn’t want her to; it’s just that fixing a “celebrity” is a business concern but fixing a life is a vastly more important and pressing human concern.
If Campbell doesn’t have her life together, then resurrecting her career may be the wrong thing to do, especially if her career played a role in bringing about her troubles in the first place.
Of course, Iyanla knows this better than anyone through both personal and professional experience, so Campbell is in very good hands. This looks like it may well be a positive use of media.
And since I so often talk about the role of media, I also question what the motivation is for people to tune in and watch episodes like this. While I hope it will be a transformative experience for Campbell, and for others, it is often human nature to want to see just how bad a train wreck is or was.
Unfortunately, many folks will be tuning in for all of the wrong reasons.
At the same time, I hope and pray Campbell is appearing on the show for the right reasons. Is she serious about getting her life on track or is she merely missing those sizable Hollywood paydays and trying to capitalize on her tragic fall?
Well, thankfully, Iyanla noted yesterday that Campbell has been sober for two years and being treated for her bipolar disorder. Still, I thought that I should raise these questions because we should be reminded that with all the hoopla of some of these media circuses, there can be real lives at stake.
And one way of helping to prevent the media from abusing its subjects is to question your own participation in the process to ensure you are not just tuning in to watch the wreck.
The episode airs on OWN this Saturday night. Best wishes to Campbell and to Iyanla and I hope they can salvage a life.
I’ll close with these words from Indonesian sci-fi author, Toba Beta:
“I don’t buy the idea of second chances. With hope, we make a lot of chances.”