Book Excerpt: Peace from Broken Pieces
Once the album was complete, I embarked on a 16-city tour to promote it. The plan was to debut the album on my first fall appearance on Oprah and begin the tour the next day. In each city, I would be joined by one of the artists who appeared on the album. I would perform the spoken word, they would perform the music. The producers at Harpo, Oprah's production company, wanted the exclusive right to promote the album and announce the tour. I was fine with that until I learned that it meant they did not want me to make my annual appearance on BET with my friend Tavis Smiley.
Tavis and I share the same birthday. Each year, I would appear on his show on our birthday, and we would discuss our plans for the coming year. The producers wanted me to forgo it that year so that my first appearance for the season would be on Oprah's show. Tavis and I discussed it, and we agreed not to talk about the album. I told the producers, but either they were being overly cautious or they didn't believe me. They insisted that I not do the show. Numb as I was, though, I was not quite ready to have people tell me what I could and could not do.