iOS app Android app

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

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

(0) Comments | Posted November 25, 2015 | 3:06 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...

Read Post

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

(1) Comments | Posted November 25, 2015 | 11:37 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...

Read Post

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

(2) Comments | Posted November 20, 2015 | 12:31 PM

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...

Read Post

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 | 9:09 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...

Read Post

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

(3) Comments | Posted November 13, 2015 | 10:06 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...

Read Post

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

(185) Comments | Posted November 9, 2015 | 10:01 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...

Read Post

Judy Collins Shares Joan Rivers' Advice on Coping With Suicide

(0) Comments | Posted November 6, 2015 | 10:32 AM

With a career that spans five decades and an astonishing fifty albums, legendary folk singer and social activist Judy Collins continues to inspire her audiences performing over 100 shows per year. She is out now with a new duets album, Strangers Again, which features some amazing guest vocalists including Jackson...

Read Post

Gloria Steinem, Iconic Feminist, Says 'RBG Must Stay!'

(3) Comments | Posted November 2, 2015 | 10:23 PM

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem has been at the forefront of the women's rights movement for decades, and at age 81, she's still striving to break down the barriers that have blocked full equality for women. The influential activist, lecturer, and author chronicles those struggles and many more aspects of her...

Read Post

To The End, 'American Revolutionary' Grace Lee Boggs Never Gave Up on Detroit

(0) Comments | Posted October 30, 2015 | 11:33 AM

Grace Lee Boggs, the "American Revolutionary" who died earlier this month at age 100, will be memorialized in her beloved Detroit this weekend (for details, go to The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Boggs was a seminal figure in the Black Power movement and -- along with her...

Read Post

Dick Van Dyke: I Feel the Bern -- But Sanders Isn't 'Castable' as President

(36) Comments | Posted October 23, 2015 | 12:16 PM

In celebration of his 90th birthday, legendary actor Dick Van Dyke shares his personal philosophies on aging in a new book, Keep Moving and Other Tips and Truths about Aging. Van Dyke challenges all of us to stay active, engage the world around us and be enthusiastic about growing old.

Read Post

Monty Python's Terry Gilliam: I'm Not Dead Yet!

(6) Comments | Posted October 21, 2015 | 12:01 PM

Last month, Variety magazine inadvertently reported that Terry Gilliam had died, sparking a viral flurry of condolences from around the world. The rumor persisted for hours -- an eternity in Internet time -- and left unsuspecting friends and family of the original member of Monty Python's Flying Circus and the...

Read Post

Should Joe Biden Run for President? Here's What Bernie Sanders Thinks.

(90) Comments | Posted October 19, 2015 | 8:27 PM

In our in-depth conversation with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, the senator from Vermont, addressed a variety of topics, including his performance in the recent CNN debate, his stance on gun control and the remarkable grassroots effort that has propelled the rise of his campaign.

One of his potential opponents...

Read Post

Fran Drescher Shares How Her Cancer Diagnosis Propelled Her to Educate and Empower Women

(0) Comments | Posted October 9, 2015 | 1:16 PM

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and tonight I'm joined by Fran Drescher, a leading voice in cancer advocacy. The Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated star of the hit '90s sit-com The Nanny is also the founder and president of the "Cancer Schmancer" Movement, which promotes early detection, prevention, and policy...

Read Post

Philosopher Slavoj Žižek on His Hero Malcolm X

(1) Comments | Posted October 7, 2015 | 11:50 AM

Tonight, I'm joined by Slavoj Žižek, arguably the world's best-known living philosopher. Dubbed "the most dangerous philosopher in the West," the influential cultural critic has published more than fifty books and is the subject of multiple documentaries exploring culture, theology, and political theory. His unorthodox style and popular works in...

Read Post

Jewel on Finding Strength Through Her Vulnerability

(0) Comments | Posted October 6, 2015 | 11:14 AM

Tonight, I'm joined by the incredibly talented singer-songwriter Jewel. The four-time Grammy nominee has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide throughout her notable career. Her new musical project, titled Picking Up the Pieces, harkens back to the folk roots of her breakthrough 1995 debut album, Pieces of You. Also...

Read Post

Ringo Starr Remembers First Time Coming to U.S. With the Beatles

(21) Comments | Posted September 30, 2015 | 4:27 PM

Tonight, I'm joined by rock and roll icon Ringo Starr for part one of a special two-night conversation. The world's most famous drummer, the man who gave The Beatles its "heartbeat," has also enjoyed an immensely successful career as a solo artist and band leader, releasing over two dozen original...

Read Post

Music Legend James Taylor on Passing Namesake Taylor Swift to Claim #1 Billboard Spot

(2) Comments | Posted September 28, 2015 | 9:48 PM

Tonight, I'm joined by the incomparable singer-songwriter James Taylor for the first of a two-night conversation. Taylor's first studio album in thirteen years, Before This World features ten tracks with guest appearances by Sting and Yo-Yo Ma.

With a music career spanning over four decades, Taylor has sold over 100...

Read Post

Green Party Presidential Candidate Dr. Jill Stein on Her Fight to Be Heard

(17) Comments | Posted September 23, 2015 | 7:49 PM

With the GOP and Democratic primary races dominating news cycles, it seems that the media often forget that there are more than two political parties in America. Tonight, I'm joined by Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein, who is among the crop of third-party leaders fighting for public recognition....

Read Post

Thomas Friedman on Why We're Between a Rock and a Hard Place in Syria

(4) Comments | Posted September 23, 2015 | 12:49 PM

Tonight on PBS, I'm joined by three-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Thomas Friedman. In July, the influential New York Times columnist and bestselling author sat down for an exclusive interview with President Obama in which the president stood firmly by his administration's nuclear deal with Iran.

In the clip below, he explains...

Read Post

Music Icon Johnny Mathis on Nearly Going to Olympics With NBA Hall-of-Famer Bill Russell

(0) Comments | Posted September 18, 2015 | 11:46 AM

Tonight on PBS, I'm joined by legendary singer Johnny Mathis. The music icon has blessed us with his voice for nearly sixty-years, making him Columbia Records' longest running recording artist. To celebrate his 80th birthday this month, Legacy Recordings and Columbia are releasing a four-disc set which brings together, for...

Read Post