Iyanla Vanzant life and biography

Iyanla Vanzant picture, image, poster

Iyanla Vanzant biography

Date of birth : 1953-09-13
Date of death : -
Birthplace : New York City, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2023-09-13
Credited as : Author, , inspirational speaker, New York bestselling, personality, teacher, Yoruba tradition, Spiritual awakening

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Iyanla Vanzant: Illuminating Lives with Wisdom and Tenacity

Iyanla Vanzant, originally named Rhonda Eva Harris and born on September 13, 1953, is a multifaceted American figure whose impact spans inspirational speaking, legal expertise, New Thought spiritual guidance, authorship, life coaching, and a commanding presence on television. This chapter delves into the captivating journey of Iyanla Vanzant, celebrated for her transformational books, her self-titled talk show, and her appearances on the influential platform of The Oprah Winfrey Show. From 2012 to 2021, she assumed the pivotal role of host on OWN's Iyanla: Fix My Life.

Nurtured by Resilience

Iyanla Vanzant's life commenced on September 13, 1953, with her arrival in the back of a taxi in Brooklyn, New York, as Rhonda Eva Harris. Born to Sarah Jefferson, a railroad carmaid, and Horace Harris, her life journey would soon be marked by profound loss. Tragedy struck when her mother succumbed to breast cancer in 1955, leaving behind a two-year-old Rhonda. In the face of this early adversity, she found herself in the care of paternal relatives, setting the stage for a life infused with resilience and determination.

In 1980, a pivotal moment of courage and empowerment unfolded in Iyanla Vanzant's life. She made the courageous decision to leave her first husband, liberating herself from a physically abusive relationship. In taking this bold step, she embarked on a transformative journey, taking her three children with her. This marked the beginning of her path to self-discovery and empowerment.

The Birth of "Iyanla"

In 1983, a significant and life-altering moment arrived when Iyanla Vanzant received the title "Iyanla," signifying "great mother." This profound change followed her initiation and ordination as a priestess in the Yoruba tradition—an event she shared during a revealing television interview on the Conn Jackson show.

Education played a crucial role in shaping Iyanla Vanzant's path. Her pursuit of knowledge led her to Medgar Evers College and Virginia Union University. Her dedication to learning and growth culminated in her earning a Juris Doctor degree from the City University of New York School of Law and a Master's degree from the University of Santa Monica (USM), Center for the Study and Practice of Spiritual Psychology. Presently, she calls Upper Marlboro, Maryland, her home, and holds the distinction of being an ordained New Thought minister.

A Beacon of Influence

In the year 2000, Iyanla Vanzant was honored as one of the "100 most influential Black Americans" by Ebony magazine. This recognition stemmed from her profound impact through books, enlightening lectures, and appearances on television—a testament to her role as a "multimedia high priestess of healthy relationships."

The year 2012 brought further acclaim as Iyanla Vanzant secured the seventh position on Watkins' Mind Body Spirit magazine's list of the 100 most spiritually influential living individuals.

Her influence extended even wider when she joined luminaries such as Deepak Chopra, Mark Nepo, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Rob Bell as a co-speaker on Oprah's "Life You Want Weekend" tour in 2014. This transformative event traveled to eight cities and brought enlightenment and inspiration to countless individuals.

In 2016, Iyanla Vanzant was honored with a coveted spot on Oprah Winfrey's SuperSoul100 list of visionaries and influential leaders.

Honoring Legacy Amidst Loss

Iyanla Vanzant's journey has been marked by not only triumphs but also profound losses. On Christmas Day in 2003, her life was forever changed when her 30-year-old daughter, Gemmia, tragically succumbed to a rare form of colon cancer. The weight of this loss tested her resilience and led her on a path of healing and growth.

Tragedy struck again when, on July 30, 2023, Iyanla Vanzant announced the heartbreaking news of her youngest daughter Nisa's passing. The strength and grace with which she has faced these personal losses are a testament to her unwavering spirit.

Additionally, her journey included a divorce from her husband, Yemi, in 2007. These personal experiences have further molded her into the resilient and empathetic figure that she is today.

Iyanla Vanzant's life serves as an inspiration, reminding us that even in the face of adversity, one can emerge stronger and shine as a beacon of wisdom and tenacity for others.

“What I have learned from all of the difficulties in my own life is that human beings have very thick skin. I call that skin, spirit, our Highest Most Powerful self. Spirit is the key to everything we desire. It is our weather-proofing, our Teflon, our line of credit that assures if we just keep putting one foot in front of the other, one day; there will be a miraculous payoff.” - Iyanla Vanzant.

Here is the list of Iyanla Vanzant’s books:

* Peace From Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through
* Acts of Faith: Daily Meditations for People of Color
* Faith in the Valley: Lessons for Women on the Journey to Peace
* Until Today! : Daily Devotions for Spiritual Growth and Peace of Mind
* One Day My Soul Just Opened Up: 40 Days And 40 Nights Toward Spiritual Strength And Personal Growth
* In the Meantime: Finding Yourself and the Love You Want
* Don’t Give It Away! : A Workbook Of Self-Awareness And Self-Affirmations For Young Women
* One Day My Soul Just Opened Up
* Tapping the Power Within: A Path to Self-Empowerment for Women: 20th Anniverary Edition
* Living from Your Center: Guided Meditations for Creating Balance & Inner Strength (Inner Vision Series)
* The Value in the Valley: A Black Woman’s Guide Through Life’s Dilemmas
* Living Through the Meantime: Learning to Break the Patterns of the Past and Begin the Healing Process
* Forgiveness: 21 Days to Forgive Everyone for Everything
* Giving to Yourself First (Inner Vision (Sounds True)

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