MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The woman who livestreamed the aftermath of a police shooting on Facebook is taking viewers on a new journey.
She turned to “Fix My Life,” a reality show on OWN — the Oprah Winfrey Network.
Filmed last fall in Atlanta, Reynolds receives insight, advice and perspective from spiritual life coach Iyanla Vanzant, who is also the show’s host.
Reynolds said her mother sent the initial email to the show, and got a response that they were interested in her story.
When asked what her expectations were going into the show, Reynolds jokingly responded that she thought she was going to meet Oprah.
“That didn’t happen,” Reynolds said, through a smile and a laugh.
Those two reactions are growing easier to find nowadays for Reynolds, but the struggle to overcome a life-changing day for her and her boyfriend continue/
Reynolds was in the passenger seat when a St. Anthony police officer shot Philando during a traffic stop nearly two years ago.
Seconds later, she started a Facebook live feed that would be seen shared nationwide, putting her in the spotlight more than she ever imagined.
“That little piece is hard because in the back of everyone’s mind I’m only Diamond Reynolds, who livestreamed her boyfriend being killed,” she said.
The bullets fired by Officer Jeronimo Yanez — who was acquitted of manslaughter charges — narrowly missed Reynolds and her daughter in the back seat.
“Therapy helps, but it doesn’t fix the voids that are there,” she said. “Every day is difficult with just hearing [Philando’s] name, seeing his face.”
The trauma from witnessing Philando’s death is the crux for her appearance on the reality show.
Reynolds said Vanzant helped analyze the root of her problems and happiness.
“I think people will learn by watching the episode that any bad situation can be turned into something positive depending on how you look at it,” Reynolds said.
She also got a mother’s perspective on the show from special guest Sybrina Fulton, whose teenage son Trayvon Martin was killed by a neighborhood watch guard in Florida in 2012.
“It just made me have a different take on life, like, it humbled me on a different level,” she said.
Talking with Fulton helped Reynolds have a better understanding for the pain Philando’s mother, Valerie Castile, is going through. However, Reynolds said the two have not spoken since his death, and did not talk much prior.
“I still feel like they feel like [Philando’s death] is my fault,” she said.” I know that he would want us to have a relationship. Ultimately, that’s what would make him happy. But I know that would never happen.”
Reynolds’ life has been rocky since the deadly traffic stop. She was convicted of misdemeanor assault. And when she received an $800,000 settlement related to the traffic stop, a Rice County Sheriff’s deputy tweeted that she would spend all the money on crack cocaine.
“To constantly be looked down upon for things that are not even in my background, my history, any of those things, like, is this how ya’ll look at people? You don’t have to know them, but you will judge them and make comments about smoking crack?” Reynolds said.
There have been several positive moments and projects in the past 18 months as well. She started a nonprofit named Black Love Twin Cities LLC, an idea she had well before the settlement. Part of its focus is on anti-bullying efforts.
She said like to open a fashion business one day and is also excited to plan her second annual Day of Remembrance event on the anniversary of Philando’s death: July 6, 2018 at Como Park in St. Paul.
“Honestly, I feel like [Philando] would be more than happy with me just because of how gracefully I’ve been able to handle the hatred, the lies that have been thrown at me,” she said. “I just hope that everybody give me a second chance. I just want a second chance.”
Reynolds’ episode of Fix My Life airs Saturday, April 28, at 8 p.m. CST on OWN.