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Iyanla Vanzant

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Years active  1980-present
Name  Iyanla Vanzant

Iyanla Vanzant httpslh4googleusercontentcomUGvBRKcN3qAAAA

Full Name  Rhonda Eva Harris
Born  September 13, 1953 (age 70) (1953-09-13) Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Occupation  Inspirational speaker, lawyer, spiritual teacher, author, TV personality
Role  Inspirational speaker ·
TV shows  Iyanla: Fix My Life, Oprah's Lifeclass, Starting Over
Children  Damon Vanzant, Gemmia Vanzant, Nisa Vanzant
Spouse  Adeyemi Bandele (m. 1997), Charles Vanzant (m. 1973–1979)
Education  Medgar Evers College, Virginia Union University
Books  In the Meantime, Forgiveness: 21 Days to Forgive E, One day my soul just open, Yesterday I Cried, Faith in the valley
Similar People  Oprah Winfrey, Paula White, Debi Thomas, Joel Osteen, Rhonda Britten

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Iyanla Vanzant (born Rhonda Eva Harris; September 13, 1953) is an American inspirational speaker, lawyer, New Thought spiritual teacher, author, life coach and television personality. She is known primarily for her books, her eponymous talk show, and her appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show. She can currently be seen on television as the host of Iyanla: Fix My Life, and as a frequently featured guest teacher of Oprah's Lifeclass on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.


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Life and career

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Vanzant was born on September 13, 1953, in the back of a taxi in Brooklyn, New York, as Rhonda Eva Harris. She is the daughter of Sarah Jefferson, a railroad car maid, and Horace Harris, a petty criminal, who was largely absent from her life. Her mother died from breast cancer in 1957, when Vanzant was four years old. She was then raised by paternal relatives, one of whom raped her at the age of nine. Her first husband was physically abusive, and she left him in 1980, taking her three children with her. In 1983, she was given the title "Iyanla", which means "great mother", after being initiated and ordained as a priestess in the Yoruba tradition (as mentioned in her television interview on the Conn Jackson show). She attended Medgar Evers College and Virginia Union University. Vanzant holds a Juris Doctor degree from the City University of New York School of Law. She currently resides in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. She is also an ordained New Thought minister.

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In 2000, she was named one of the "100 most influential Black Americans" by Ebony magazine, which said that "Her books, lectures and television appearances have made her a multimedia high priestess of healthy relationships."

In 2012, Vanzant was listed at #7 on Watkins' Mind Body Spirit magazine list of the 100 most spiritually influential living people." In 2014, she was co-speaker in Oprah's the "Life You Want Weekend" tour, which travelled to eight cities, also featuring Deepak Chopra, Mark Nepo, Elizabeth Gilbert and Rob Bell.

Vanzant is an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.

On Christmas Day 2003, Vanzant's 30-year-old daughter, Gemmia, died from a rare form of colon cancer. Vanzant and her husband, Yemi, divorced in 2007.


Iyanla Vanzant Wikipedia