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Author Finds Empowerment in Rhymes

July 9, 2001

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Best-selling, self-help author Iyanla Vanzant can teach empowerment even with a nursery rhyme.

At the Essence Music Festival on Saturday, Vanzant kept the audience laughing while she encouraged them to breathe, get up and move by exploring the words in the song ``Row, Row, Row Your Boat.″

``Don’t just stay stuck. If you row and row and keep on rowing, I guarantee you that the people who love you will catch up,″ she said. ``But, you’ve got to do the work.

``When you have to learn something, there’s no shortcut. ... Work on yourself. Work on your mind, body and spirit and then move your boat.″

Asked what drew her to Vanzant’s seminar on the closing day of the festival, Alicia Burbank of New Orleans said she’s a fan, having read most of her books, including ``In the Meantime″ and ``One Day My Soul Just Opened Up.″

``She mixes humor with pain,″ Burbank said. ``Yet, she does it in a way that makes you feel like she’s talking to you as a friend. She teaches you the steps, the skills you need to overcome life’s problems.″

Vanzant’s new talk show, ``Iyanla,″ debuts Aug. 13.

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