After the actions of Judge Tammy Kemp and Brandt Jean split the public following the sentencing of ex-Dallas police officer Amber Guyger last week, Iyanla Vanzant has voiced her own take on the matter.
Guyger was convicted Wednesday of murdering PwC accountant Botham Jean in his apartment after she admitted she shot to kill him when she mistook the home for her own abode. Kemp, who is Black, and Jean’s brother, Brandt Jean, each gave a hug to the white woman who claimed the life of the Black man.
On the stand Oct. 2, Botham Jean said, “I forgive you, and I know if you go to God and ask him, he will forgive you.”
Nearly a week after sentencing Guyger, Kemp explained, “I saw someone who was really, really hurting deeply and if a hug was going to help her, I had to extend love and compassion to her.”
The actions stirred controversy online with some questioning why such compassion was given to Guyger, who was sentenced to spend a decade in prison for Botham Jean’s murder.
Now, Vanzant, a staple of the OWN network for her life coaching show “Iyanla Fix My Life,” has sounded off on the matter.
“I find it very interesting that when you go into court and they ask you to put her hand on the Bible and swear to God, but they don’t want you to act like a Godly being in the process,” she told TMZ Monday. “The judge hugging this woman brings humanity to the legal system, which is what’s missing. Which is why we have so many people rotting in jail for non-violent crimes because the humanity is gone. And if we weren’t in the courtroom, I’m not clear why we think we have an opinion? Why couldn’t that judge do what she did from her heart and her mind?”
Vanzant went on to explain that the act of forgiving, as Brandt Jean said he had done with Guyger, is for the individual impacted rather than the other person.
“I am so proud of that young man for claiming his right not to spend the next 10, 15 years in anger and upset with the woman who’s in jail. He said his brother would have forgiven her; that’s legacy,” Vanzant says. “And when we want to honor those that we love, we do what they would do in their honor.
“I’m glad that as a black man, he became a demonstration for other black men about how to move from one step to the next,” she concludes.
But while Vanzant found it fine that Brandt Jean extended a hug to his brother’s murderer, many online had opposing thoughts.
“Not On My Watch”
“Iyanla is out of bounds on this one.”
“Problem is that humanity doesn’t extend to people of color. Specifically black men.”