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Iyanla Vanzant is a widely recognized spiritual teacher, author, and inspirational speaker. She is most known for her self help books, talk show, and frequent appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Vanzant was born in Brooklyn, New York, and her given name was Rhonda Eva Harris. She changed her name to Iyanla after being initiated as a Yoruba priestess.
Vanzant’s story is one that hits home for a number of black women. Vanzant lost her mother at age 3, was sexually abused by relatives, had her first child at 16 and three children by age 21, and survived abusive relationships. She spent time on welfare, but began her rise above the ashes by putting herself through Medgar Evers College and then law school. Her initial break came when she wrote a workbook for women trying to get off of welfare.
Since then, Vanzant’s career has largely been based on helping women overcome the same struggles she has triumphed over. She has written several books and also hosted the Emmy-winning television reality show, “Starting Over,” which aimed to help women break the cycles of poverty, addiction, and dysfunction.
In the following video clip, Vanzant talks about black women being “out of order” for having children out of wedlock and for behaving in unacceptable ways. She also feels that black women are wrong for the way some “dishonor, betray, and defile one another.” The video explores how Vanzant believes that ghosts of the past haunt black women through negative attitudes and detrimental behavior.
The video has generated a wide range of reaction from shock and outrage to acknowledgement of truth. Vanzant hopes the information will lead to an evolution in the way black women perceive themselves and how they treat each other. To hear more about what Vanzant has to say about self-esteem, respect for other women, and female empowerment, watch the video below: