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Tavis Smiley
From his celebrated conversations with world figures to his work to inspire the next generation of leaders, Tavis Smiley — broadcaster, author, publisher, advocate, and philanthropist — has emerged as an outstanding voice for change. Smiley is currently the host of the late-night television talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS, as well as The Tavis Smiley Show from Public Radio International (PRI).

In addition to his radio and television work, Smiley has written 16 books. His memoir, What I Know for Sure: My Story of Growing Up in America, became a New York Times best seller, and the book he edited, Covenant with Black America, became the first nonfiction book by a Black-owned publisher to reach #1 on The New York Times best-sellers list.

In his latest New York Times best seller, The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto, Smiley and his co-author Dr. Cornel West challenge all Americans to re-examine their assumptions about poverty in America — what it really is and how to eradicate it.

His forthcoming text to be published in September 2014 is Death of a King: The Real Story of the Last Year in the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In the book, Smiley recounts the little known story of the denunciations by the press, rejection from the president, dismissal by the country’s Black elite and militant youth, assaults on his character, ideology and political tactics --- all of which MLK had to rise above in the final year of his life in order to lead and address the racism, poverty and militarism that threatens, even still, to destroy our democracy. Smiley is also working on a new text for release in 2015 entitled “Death of the King of Pop.” It will be a vibrant account of the final year of Michael Jackson’s life.

Smiley was the presenter and creative force behind AMERICA I AM: The African American Imprint. This unprecedented traveling museum exhibition, which debuted in January 2009, toured the country for four years, celebrating the extraordinary impact of African American contributions to our nation and the world, as told through rare artifacts, memorabilia and multimedia. Many of the artifacts Smiley discovered and displayed during the AMERICA I AM tour are now on permanent display at the Smithsonian Institution.

Smiley’s most gratifying accomplishments are rooted in his commitment to champion human rights and empowerment issues, and in his passion to inspire the next generation of leaders. Since its inception, the Tavis Smiley Foundation has provided leadership training and development for more than 6,500 young people through ‘Youth to Leaders’ training workshops and conferences. Expanding upon Smiley’s pervious anti-poverty work, the Foundation recently launched Ending Poverty: America’s Silent Spaces, a four-year national initiative to examine barriers and identify solutions to reduce hardship among our most vulnerable citizens.

His communications company, The Smiley Group, Inc., serves as the holding company for various enterprises encompassing broadcast and print media, lectures, symposiums, book publishing, and digital platforms.

Smiley’s achievements have earned him numerous awards and honorary doctorate degrees, including one from his alma mater, Indiana University. In 2009, Indiana University named the atrium of its School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) building “The Tavis Smiley Atrium.” Smiley is also the recipient of the prestigious Du Bois Medal from Harvard University and the 2009 Interdependence Day Prize from Demos in Istanbul, Turkey. TIME magazine has honored Smiley as one of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People.” The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce recently honored Smiley with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Entries by Tavis Smiley

Bernie Sanders on the Real Reason Hillary Clinton Backed out of the California Debate

(122) Comments | Posted May 23, 2016 | 10:54 PM

Monday, Hillary Clinton backed out of a scheduled debate in California with Bernie Sanders. In his first sit down interview since learning the news, Sanders explains the "obvious" reasons she cancelled.

For my full conversation with Sen. Sanders, be sure to tune in Tuesday night to Tavis Smiley on PBS. Check our website for your local TV listings:

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Shaka Senghor: Bill Clinton Out of Touch and Out of Line on Justice System

(41) Comments | Posted April 11, 2016 | 7:58 PM

Former President Bill Clinton made headlines last week when, in response to protests, he defended Hillary Clinton's description of urban youths as "super-predators" during his administration.

Criminal justice reform advocate and author of the New York Times best seller "Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American...

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When They See the Melee, Do They Hear the Message?

(174) Comments | Posted March 14, 2016 | 8:37 PM

As I've watched the decay of our civilization and the devolution of our culture displayed at these Trump for president campaign rallies, I have pondered the words of Booker T. Washington, "Let no man pull you so low as to make you hate him."

Donald J. Trump...

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Hillary Clinton On Why Women Aren't Rallying Around Her... Yet

(147) Comments | Posted February 23, 2016 | 5:38 PM

Days after winning in Nevada, I asked Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton why she believes women writ large are not rallying around her. In the clip below, she explains how she'll win their votes and utilize her campaign as a platform to break down racial and gender barriers.

For more of our conversation, be sure to tune in to Tavis Smiley on PBS. Check our website for your local TV listings:

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Senator Bernie Sanders Agrees With Michelle Alexander: Hillary Clinton Does Not Deserve the Black Vote

(0) Comments | Posted February 22, 2016 | 11:00 PM

Just days before the South Carolina Democratic primary, I asked Senator Sanders if he agrees with the premise of Michelle Alexander's recent, much-talked-about article in The Nation entitled, "Why Hillary Clinton Doesn't Deserve the Black Vote."

For more of our conversation, be sure to tune in to Tavis Smiley on PBS. Check our website for your local TV listings:

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Esteemed Journalist Marvin Kalb on Why Russians Prefer Putin's Brute Strength Over American-style Freedom

(10) Comments | Posted January 28, 2016 | 1:07 PM

Marvin Kalb's career spans three decades of award-winning reporting and commentary for CBS and NBC, including a turn as host of the iconic political talk show Meet the Press. He recently completed the 22nd season of The Kalb Report, a forum on ethics and journalism. Also a bestselling author, his...

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Does Trump's Race Rhetoric Trump Reagan's States-Rights Record?

(0) Comments | Posted January 26, 2016 | 8:53 AM

Introduced to the world as the daughter of President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan, Patti Davis has created a legacy of her own as the New York Times bestselling author of eleven books. Her latest is the powerful novel titled The Earth Breaks In Colors, which tells the story of...

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40 Years After 'Horses', What Patti Smith Says About One of Her Most Controversial Lyrics Ever

(7) Comments | Posted January 22, 2016 | 11:20 AM

It's been four decades since the release of Patti Smith's landmark debut Horses, which has been hailed by Rolling Stone as one of the top 100 albums of all time. Since then, she has unleashed ten other studio projects, been inducted into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,...

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Glenn Frey May Be Gone, but Fans Are Sure to Keep His Legacy Alive

(4) Comments | Posted January 20, 2016 | 8:29 AM

Legendary musician Glenn Frey passed away Monday in New York City at the age of 67. Best known as one of the founders of the Eagles--winners of six Grammys and one of the most successful bands of all time--Frey also enjoyed tremendous solo success with songs like "The Heat Is...

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The Enduring Ministry of Natalie Cole

(0) Comments | Posted January 1, 2016 | 4:30 PM

Natalie Cole appeared many times as a guest on my PBS television program. In a special tribute to the beloved singer, we looked back at her 2010 visit surrounding the release of her memoir Love Brought Me Back.

In the clip below, Cole shared how she processed...

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The Heart and Humanity of 'Star Wars'

(2) Comments | Posted December 14, 2015 | 10:21 AM

This week, we celebrate the year's most anticipated film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, by welcoming two visionary icons central to the movie's creation. On Tuesday, December 15th, I'm joined by its legendary composer, John Williams, who has been the musical force behind the Star Wars pictures for nearly 40...

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A Real American Role Model

(8) Comments | Posted December 9, 2015 | 1:28 PM

Ballet dancer Misty Copeland has had quite the year in 2015. She made headlines and history by becoming the first African-American female principal dancer at the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, she debuted on Broadway in the hit show On the Town and launched her MindLeaps Girls' Program in Rwanda, which...

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Eli Broad: "No Deal in the Works" for Purchase of L.A. Times

(0) Comments | Posted December 8, 2015 | 1:53 PM

On Nov. 27, media mogul Rupert Murdoch used his Twitter account to say there was "strong word" that billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad and a group of local investors were poised to buy the Los Angeles Times. The newspaper is currently owned by Chicago-based Tribune Publishing, which quickly denied Murdoch's tweet....

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The Ever-Present Song Within Andrea Bocelli

(3) Comments | Posted December 7, 2015 | 7:43 PM

Having sold upwards of 80 million albums worldwide, international superstar Andrea Bocelli has earned the distinction of being the most successful classical solo artist of all time. In his latest project, Cinema, the supremely talented tenor offers his voice to some of the greatest songs from film. The icon paid...

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What's the Greatest Gift You Can Give? Time? Money?

(0) Comments | Posted November 25, 2015 | 2:06 PM

Your talent. Mitch Albom, author of six consecutive #1 New York Times bestsellers, including the highest-selling memoir of all time - Tuesdays with Morrie - is out with a poignant new novel, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, about the remarkable life of a Spanish war orphan whose talent as...

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Ian McKellen On Whether There Is a Place for Pacifism in These Troubling Times (VIDEO)

(1) Comments | Posted November 25, 2015 | 10:37 AM

Widely known for his roles in the blockbuster franchises The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and X-Men, Ian McKellen is undoubtedly one of the most distinguished actors working today. He is now garnering a good deal of Oscar buzz with his unique and poignant portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in...

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Trumbo's Bryan Cranston: How Blacklisted Screenwriter Could Be Both a Communist and Patriot

(2) Comments | Posted November 20, 2015 | 11:31 AM

After enduring a number of lean years as a working actor, Bryan Cranston's commitment to his craft has certainly paid off. His Emmy and Golden Globe-winning run on the mega-hit show Breaking Bad, along with his Tony-winning portrayal of LBJ in the Broadway play All the Way, have solidified him...

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Did You Know Former CIA Director Allen Dulles and His Brother, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, Were Nazi Sympathizers?

(1) Comments | Posted November 17, 2015 | 8:09 AM

Salon founder and former editor-in chief David Talbot reveals this and other dark secrets in his explosive new biography, The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA and the Rise of America's Secret Government.

In the wake of recent terrorist attacks, Talbot connects our current state of national security to...

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Art Garfunkel on the 'Art' of a Great Live Show

(3) Comments | Posted November 13, 2015 | 9:06 AM

One of the most recognizable and beloved voices in all of music, Art Garfunkel has been fine tuning his instrument since he was a small child, singing into a wire recorder he received from his father. He has since made a lasting mark on the music world as both a...

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Israeli Journalist Rula Jebreal: Netanyahu 'Getting Away With Murder'

(181) Comments | Posted November 9, 2015 | 9:01 PM

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Obama at the White House on Monday in his first trip back to Washington after an unsuccessful campaign to block the Iran nuclear deal. Award-winning journalist Rula Jebreal joined us to offer her take on the meeting between the two heads of...

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