From ‘Real Talk’ to Tik Tok: Content Creator ‘Dr. Casanova Brown’ Honors His Muse Iyanla Vanzant

TikTok has given rise to a new kind of influencer. Unlike their predecessors on carefully curated YouTube channels, meticulously crafted Facebook pages, and perfectly posed Instagram profiles, TikTok creators embrace a more unfiltered and spontaneous approach. No fancy ring lights, elaborate backgrounds, or polished packaging—just deadpan in phone, 90-second sound bite, and out. ​​

The regularness is the appeal, at least from my humble xennial perspective. They’re not selling a lifestyle or personality, nor do they speak in unnatural tones; they’re not staging life — they simply have a story or perspective they’re willing to share. What they offer is more casual commentary than influence, more witty banter, and observation than advice. Sleep on them if you want, but they are what is. 

TikTok influencer @drcasanovabrown encapsulates this phenomenon. With over 400,000 followers and counting, if you’re on TikTok, there’s a good chance you’ve come across him on your feed. He talks about whatever he wants, really. Everything from the politics of respectability to binge reviews of Braxton Family Values to PSAs for PrEP and HIV prevention. While his following is far from modest, it’s not so enormous as to dilute the authenticity of his voice. He gets his community, and they reciprocate.

For our Black History Month series showcasing rising digital influencers and the legends that inspired them, I approached @drcasanovabrown to explore the inspiration behind his outspokenness. In tribute to those who paved the way, we present empowerment coach and “life-fixer” Iyanla Vanzant through the lens of TikTok influencer @drcasanovabrown.

What crystallized Iyanla Vanzant as an icon in your eyes?

Iyanla, Fix My Life, I believe, was a much-needed cultural reset. Before I discovered her show, I was unsure of how to heal myself or even how to identify my own traumas. Personally, Iyanla has taught me the value of healing and setting boundaries to continue to heal.

In what ways do you believe Iyanla has influenced or shifted the culture?

Iyanla Vanzant brought the idea of therapy into the homes of many Black people, which I believe has had a much-needed impact on how we look at mental health, drug abuse, generational trauma, and personal demons. Her approach, however unorthodox, has shown to be effective. She showed our community how ugly unhealed trauma is but also how beautiful being healed can be. 

How has her work impacted or shaped your perspective and life?

I’ve always had a natural curiosity for the human mind and why people do the things they do, but Iyanla Vanzant has definitely encouraged me to pursue higher learning in the subject of psychology. As far as my own approach to speaking on certain topics, she has shown me the value of looking at things from multiple angles with discernment to give a more considerate opinion. 

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