IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

5 Questions with ESSENCE Festival Speaker Iyanla Vanzant

On OWN’s Fix My Life reality program, inspirational speaker Iyanla Vanzant is charged with the task of helping people overcome their struggles.
Credit: Harpo Studios/ OWN Oprah Winfrey Network
Credit: Harpo Studios/ OWN Oprah Winfrey Network

On OWN’s Fix My Life reality program, inspirational speaker Iyanla Vanzant is charged with the task of helping people overcome their struggles. Vanzant is taking that same energy to the ESSENCE Festival on Saturday, July 6, when she’ll give attendees tips on how to lead a more happy life. recently spoke with Vanzant about her ESSENCE Festival appearance and why OWN’s Fix My Life is an important platform to help improve people's lives. What about the ESSENCE Festival resonates most with you? Iyanla Vanzant: There’s a totality of experiences that touch every single aspect, interest and, in some cases, needs of our community. We need to gather. We need to see one another. We need to touch one another. The tradition of the ESSENCE Festival provides that. It’s almost a ritual now. People save all year to come. During the ESSENCE Festival Empowerment Experience, you’re discussing how people can live a happier life. Why is this an important topic? Vanzant: What I’m aware of is the depth and level of suffering that goes on in our community. I’m aware of families breaking down, the shift in economics, the outrage and uproar among our children, the identity confusion and the lack of vision and purpose in our lives. I just want to speak to some of those issues and possibly provide people with a different perspective and tools. The truth is you have to do the work. If you don’t do the work on yourself and your life, you’ll never reach that sense of fulfillment and will continue to suffer. You’re all about rebuilding women’s self-esteem. Do women value themselves enough today? Vanzant: I don’t think women are valued in this society at all. If women are devalued, diminished, dishonored and disrespected, they don’t have a self. It’s about growing a self that you value, respect, honor and hold to be worthy. And many women don’t have the tools or information that’s required for that to become a possibility in their life. On your OWN show, Fix My Life, you help repair broken relationships. How do you view your work on that show? Vanzant: Fix My life is my ministry. It is how I share with the world my purpose in life, which is to facilitate the evolution of human consciousness. In order to do that, I teach principles and skills and share information that support people in living an authentic life. Aside from Fix My Life, what else are you working on? Vanzant: I’m doing a book on forgiveness, which comes out in November. Forgiveness is a next step in the work we all have to do, whether it’s forgiving yourself or someone you believed has caused you hurt, harm or danger. Forgiveness is the spiritual laxative that cleans the consciousness of all hidden grievances. Once we surrender our grievances, we have more space to create the life we desire.

Check out the other speakers on this year's ESSENCE Festival lineup and tune in to Fix My Life on the OWN network on Saturdays at 9/8C.

This article was first published by