(September 13, 1953, -- present)
Iyanla Vanzant (born Rhonda Eva Harris) is an American inspirational speaker, lawyer, New Thought spiritual teacher, author, life coach and television personality. She has written many books and has made appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show in the past. She is currently the host of the show Iyanla: Fix My Life which air on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network).
Iyanla was born in the back of a taxi in Brooklyn, New York. Her mother was Sarah Jefferson, a railroad car maid, and her father Horace Harris, who was largely absent from her life. When Iyanla was two, her mother died from breast cancer and was then raised by paternal relatives, one of whom raper her at the age of nine years old. She was later married, but left her husband in 1980 due to physical abuse, taking their 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. She also attended Medgar Evers College and Virginia Union University. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from the City University of New York School of Law. She was also ordained as a New Thought minister, as well as an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
In 2000, Vanzant 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. In 2016, Vanzant was named to Oprah Winfrey's SuperSoul100 list of visionaries and influential leaders.
On Christmas Day 2003, Vanzant's 30-year-old daughter, Gemmia, died from a rare form of colon cancer. Vanzant married again, but her and her husband, Yemi, divorced in 2007.
Links & Resources
Tapping The Power Within (1992)
Acts Of Faith: Meditations For People Of Color (1993)
The Value in the Valley: A Black Woman's Guide Through Life's Dilemmas (1995)
The Spirit of a Man (1996)
Faith in the Valley: Lessons for Women on the Journey to Peace (1996)
In The Meantime (1998)
Yesterday I Cried (1998)
Every Day I Pray: Prayers for Awakening to the Grace of Inner Communion (2001)
Living Through the Meantime (2001)
Up From Here: Reclaiming the Male Spirit: A Guide to Transforming Emotions Into Power and Freedom (2002)
Peace From Broken Pieces (2010) Until Today! Daily Devotions For Spiritual Growth and Peace Of Mind (2000) margin:0px !important;" />
Forgiveness: 21 Days to Forgive Everyone for Everything (2013)
TRUST: Mastering The Four Essential Trusts (2015)
One Day My Soul Just Opened Up: 40 Days and 40 Nights Toward Spiritual Strength and Personal Growth (2018)