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“It is easier to raise strong children than repair broken men.” – Frederick Douglass

Douglass said those words years ago, but their wisdom is timeless. Watching DMX on the latest episode of “Iyanla, Fix My Life,” I was reminded of them. The rapper/actor, born Earl Simmons, agreed to appear on the show at the urging of his estranged wife, Tashera Simmons. The two were also on the VH1 show “Couples Therapy” where some of DMX’s main issues – infidelity and substance abuse – were put on display.

Given the fakeness that is most of reality TV, it’s hard to tell if any of DMX’s antics on “Fix My Life” were scripted. If so, he deserves way more film work. The twitchy, angry, defensive man who Iyanla met up with didn’t seem to be acting. His behavior was so obviously addled that one of the first questions Iyanla asked was “Are you high?”

DMX shared his pain at being abandoned at age 7 by his mother, who put him in a youth home after she got frustrated with his behavior. If DMX has a father that is still alive, he must be long gone, because he’s never even mentioned. Iyanla talked to DMX’s mother who, like she did on “Couples Therapy,” seemed rather unaffected by the pain that her son is in. In Iyanla’s conversation with Tashera, Tashera admitted that for 17 years, she played more of a mother role than a wife to DMX, substituting for the mother he’d lost.

DMX admitted to marital infidelity (it was hard not to as he has six kids outside of his marriage), multiple arrests and constant use of alcohol and drugs. He told Iyanla he wasn’t ready to stop getting high. Tears, anger and defensiveness, the telltale behaviors of most addicts, were all part of the conversation. When the going got tough, DMX decided he’d had enough and refused to continue the shoot. After some intense persuasion, DMX agreed to return to talk to his oldest son, who he’s also estranged from.

Xavier, now 20, wanted to confront his father about his infidelity and drug use. Despite their initially warm interaction, when DMX thought Iyanla was interrupting the conversation between father and son, he cursed her. Iyanla offered to leave but X’s son refused to speak to his father alone. When it was all said and done, DMX told his son that their relationship could only continue if his son was able to accept him the way he was. Xavier, though, preferred a relationship with a sober father and wasn’t having it.

DMX: Can This Brother Be Saved?  was originally published on

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