Iyanla Vanzant In Baltimore to “Fix IT” As More Protest Continues over a Proposed $30 Million Juvenile Jail in Baltimore City

A call for help has been made for Baltimore and Iyanla Vanzant has accepted the call.

Baltimore is the largest city in the state of Maryland; the 26th-most populous city in the country, and the largest independent city in the United States. However, what happened in Baltimore on April 12, 2015 when Freddie Carlos Gray, Jr., a 25-year-old African-American man died after being arrested by police for allegedly possessing an illegal switchblade, still remains a mystery. Splintered in pain and turmoil, the residents of Baltimore are divided over the incident of six police officers, who were involved in Gray’s arrest were indicted. Frustration increased recently when an announcement was made by newly-elected governor, Larry Hogan to cut spending in public education, and instead invest to build a $30 million juvenile jail in Baltimore City, despite campaign promises. Combined with a continuing a run of violence in the city making the month of May – Baltimore’s deadliest month since 1999.

To help stop the hemorrhaging of anger and mistrust and to start conversations of healing, Dr. Jamal-Harrison Bryant, pastor and founder of Empowerment Temple church, has enlisted the help of talk show host, Iyanla Vanzant of the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) hit TV show, Iyanla: Fix My Life.

OWN’s hit TV show, Iyanla: Fix My Life, features the talk show host helping people to overcome difficult situations in their lives. Vanzant, an accomplished author, life coach, inspirational speaker, and talk show host is a living testament to the value in life’s valleys, and the power of acting on faith and empowerment. Plans are to lead residents of Baltimore in conversations of emotional healing and an empowering breakthrough.

The 3-day “Fix My City” Healing Service will be held at Empowerment Temple Church, 4217 Primrose Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215 this week, wrapping up today, Thursday, May 28, 7:00-9:00 p.m. for the community. All of this comes as a result of Dr. Jamal-Harrison Bryant inviting Iyanla Vanzant to participate in current collaborative and strategic efforts to move the residents of Baltimore City toward open dialogue and restoration.

Dr. Bryant was heavily involved in the Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Freddie Gray cases as the family’s advocate and spiritual adviser. He has witnessed firsthand how communities can become disillusioned without a catalyst for healing and trust. “Iyanla Vanzant is that catalyst,” says Bryant. His hope is that these 3-day sessions will stimulate encouragement, optimism and empowerment.

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Tamela Mann Realizes a Dream

Grammy-nominated artist to judge Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound performance.

As finalist choirs from across the country prepare to perform for sold-out audiences and some of the biggest names in gospel music at Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound competition, they have an unlikely champion in GRAMMY®-nominated artist Tamela Mann. Mann, who joins the gospel music competition this year as a judge, recalls the first time she had the opportunity to perform for one of her music heroes.

She was 12 years old when she sang at a workshop for gospel legend Dr. Mattie Moss Clark and an audience of 1,500 people. “I was nervous, but it was a big thing for me,” she said. “It makes people feel special to be able to perform in front of people they love.  It’s important to them and to me.”

This year, more than 40 church and community choirs are preparing to sing for Mann and fellow judges Hezekiah Walker and VaShawn Mitchell and hosts Donald Lawrence and Yolanda Adams. The choirs are competing for a chance to win a How Sweet the Sound/eOne music recording contract, up to $50,000 in cash and prizes, and the title “America’s Best Gospel Choir.”

And as the choirs prepare to make their debut on the How Sweet the Sound stage, Mann says that in addition to practicing, each choir member should prepare themselves mentally and spiritually. “You have to bring your whole heart and being into your performance,” she said. “It’s about inspiration and spreading the good news, so that when people leave, they take something with them.”     

Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound competition is in its sixth year and will travel to seven cities across the country, including New Orleans, Dallas, Baltimore, New York, Detroit, Chicago and Atlanta.