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Iyanla Vanzant Defends Judge Tammy Kemp and Botham Jean's Brother Brandt after They Hugged Amber Guyger

Monica Otayza
Oct 09, 2019
04:30 P.M.
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After seeing how much flack Botham Jean's brother and the presiding judge received after hugging Amber Guyger during her prison sentence reading, OWN star Iyanla Vanzant comes to their rescue.


Aside from being an actress, Iyanla Vanzant is also a self-help guru, who has gone on multiple speaking engagements alongside Oprah herself. So when it comes to speaking about tough situations like that of the Jean family, she knew exactly what to say.

The casket carrying Botham Shem Jean arrives at Greenville Avenue Church of Christ | Photo: Getty Images

The casket carrying Botham Shem Jean arrives at Greenville Avenue Church of Christ | Photo: Getty Images


Amber Guyger's Fatal Mistake

Botham Jean, an accountant living in Dallas, was shot to death in his own apartment after Amber Guyger mistook him as a burglar who entered her home. It turns out, she was on the wrong floor, as she lived one floor up of where Jean lives.

A year after the murder, Amber Guyger was sentenced to a 10-year sentence, 5 years without parole. After her sentence was read, Brandt Jean and Judge Tammy Kemp gave her a hug.

Allison Jean, mother of Botham Shem Jean, stands with family and church members of Greenville Avenue Church of Christ after the funeral service | Photo: Getty Images

Allison Jean, mother of Botham Shem Jean, stands with family and church members of Greenville Avenue Church of Christ after the funeral service | Photo: Getty Images


On Judge Kemp's Actions

When asked about what she thinks about the criticism surrounding Judge Tammy Kemp embracing Guyger after her 10-year prison sentence was read, she said:

"I find it very interesting that you go in the court and they tell you to put your hand on the bible and swear to God, but they don't want you to act like a Godly being in the process. So the judge hugging this woman brings humanity to our legal system. Which is what's missing, which is why so many people are rotting in jail over non-violent crimes, because humanity is gone."


Brandt Jean's Choice of Forgiving Amber Guyger

Meanwhile, Brandt Jean, Botham's younger brother, made a heartbreaking victim's impact statement after the sentencing, where he surprisingly revealed that he'd forgiven Guyger for what happened.

While many were surprised, Vanzant lauded the man for his actions, reminding people that forgiveness is not for someone else, but for your ownself.

"Forgiveness isn't for the other person. Forgiveness is for you. I am so proud of that young man for claiming his right not to spend the next 10 to 15 years in anger and upset with the woman who's in jail."


An Example for Black Men

Aside from the fact that Brandt chose to forgive, Iyanla highlighted the fact that Brandt mentioned he himself would have forgiven Amber, which was why he chose to forgive as well.

"He said his brother would have forgiven her. That's legacy. And when we want to honor those we love, we do what they would do in their honor. So i'm glad he made that choice not to waste his life not to be upset with her, i'm glad he made the choice to honor his brother's legacy, and i'm glad that as a black man, you understand, he became a demonstration for other black men."


Choosing Forgiveness

The news of Brandt Jean and Judge Tammy Kemp hugging Amber Guyger after her sentencing made rounds on the internet, as people found it rather surprising.

However, now that Iyanla is providing another perspective, it may be a bit easier to understand why the Jean family would rather forgive than living in anger.

After all, while the tragedy cost them one of the most important people in their lives, they'd be wasting their own if they spent years in anger and agony over something they can't change.

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