Interviewed by Precious “Simone” Whitener
Precious: How did the MasterPeace Luxury Soap Bar come about?
Iyanla: “Originally started by her daughter Gemmia. Gemmia, from an early age was always drawn to scents and how they make you feel. I couldn’t keep her out of my perfume when she was a baby. At 16, on her own, she started studying essential oils. Now, I’m a homegrown herbalist. My mother is Cherokee, something people don’t know. But she was a master herbalist. She would go out in the yard and make concoctions to do everything and I did it with her. Plus she made homemade soap. My grandmother made homemade soap; blue soap and brown soap and it was ugly. But she always put herbs in it. I wanted to use Camay and Dove—things that left a scent on you. My grandmother taught me about herbs walking in the garden in Smithville, Virginia. So when Gemmia got older and started making her essential oil concoctions, she would always ask me “what’s the herb that does this?” What’s the herb that does that?” By the time she was 19, she was making a product for hair, because Gemmia was sensitive to energy, even as a child. The sun, the moon, the wind, she always talked about how something felt. She would always ask how things felt to someone. She was always sensitive to energy. Around the age of 23 she started making The MasterPeace line, making her own homegrown products. Her thing was hair. She said hair was like an antenna, it picked up energy and gave off energy. She started by making a conditioner and shampoo using essential oils and herbs. She would ask me about oils that helped you feel better and or if you are sad and I would tell her about the herbs. So she continued to increase and grow the line and by the time she made her transition at the age of 31, as a result of colorectal cancer, she had established this line that we just passed around amongst friends. She sold some when I would do workshops.
After her transition, she passed in 2003 and in 2006, I was guided to pick the line up and make it again but focusing really more on the energy on the person and around a person. I was guided to use African black soap because African black soap is a less caustic product. It doesn’t have the same amounts and lye and dye that many many commercial products do. So I started with African black soap, grading it myself, experimenting, and giving it to my friends. Everytime I would come up with a new product, I would give it to my friends and they loved it. So, I really started focusing on it. “What is this?” “What is this product?” With the African black soap and the combinations of essential oils and herbs, it’s really that supports people in clearing and cleaning their energy as they clean their bodies. It’s a friendly product. Most pharmaceuticals come from an herbal formula or they’re trying to copy an herbal formula.
So I just took it to my history, my ancestry as a Native American as a descendant of Africans. When you think of Africa, you think in times of ancient wisdom and natural products. That’s why the African Black Soap was so important for me. I’m really just starting to market the line and get it out into the world. I want people to get accustomed to understanding that you are responsible for the energy that you bring into any space. That you are a being of energy! That energy exudes from you. That you attract energy! When you’re in a place and you say something doesn’t feel right here, that’s energy. Or when you say that person has really negative energy, do we know what we are talking about? Sometimes, it’s a function of how we think. Sometimes it’s a function of our emotional being. Sometimes it’s a function of where we are and what we are doing. So that was the intention behind the MasterPeace line.
Fast forward, the pandemic, where people were in fear because all the normal things we did to bring meaning to our lives, value and comfort in our lives was disrupted. What I really became so clearly aware of is that people are not conscious or aware of how they are thinking and their feelings and their experiences create a veil of energy around them. The pandemic stirred up so much fear and so anger. So that’s when we said okay, let’s put it out there.
Let’s take MasterPeace to another level.”
Precious: What benefits will setting boundaries have on you emotionally, mentally, spiritually?
Iyanla: “We are raised to be codependent rather than interdependent. We need to be more interdependent and focus on what’s on the inside of us. We are not taught to be interdependent. People are not depressed. They have run out of human capacity. Though I understand there is a diagnosis of depression, the vast majority of people have run out of human capacity. People need to be self-aware, self-reliant and mingle with the right people. It’s important to understand who you are and not just what you do. You can’t care for yourself mentally, spiritually or emotionally if you don’t know who you are in those areas. The product will help you become consciously aware of who you are and will help you limit codependencies on everyone else outside of yourself. Learn to be with yourself.”
“You need boundaries. You can’t have peace without boundaries. Your greatest self-care tool is your no. No to what doesn’t honor you. No to what doesn’t feel right. Saying no is absolutely essential. Who teaches us how to set boundaries? Boundaries protect what matters to you! We are told to honor other people and their boundaries but we are not taught to honor ours. You have a right to honor your values. Setting boundaries is the first step towards self-care.”
Precious: What is your definition of self-care?
Iyanla: “My definition of self-care is the conscious awareness of mind, body, and spirit moment to moment engaging in practices that support you in having the highest energy possible. It’s more than hair and nails.”
Precious: What is it about the soap bars that gives you people a sense of peace?
Iyanla: “Beyond body products, it’s a movement on how to master energy and have peace. If you don’t have peace of mind! I’d you don’t have peace in your heart, everything will be chaotic. The product is made to support you in clearing and cleaning energy as you cleanse your body. It’s designed for you to be intentional with how you take care of yourself. You are responsible for the energy you bring into space. The products are named and have a specific purpose. Every formula comes with an affirmation: it’s intended for you to hold a specific thought in your mind to take better care of yourself. It’s a process of education. We haven’t been taught to be mindful of our energy. You need to master peace so that you can master every area of your life. This product assists you in caring for yourself in a deeper and profound way.”