Tavis Smiley

Tavis Smiley

PBS Talk Show Host & Media Icon
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Program Descriptions

  • Enlighten, Encourage, Empower

Biography Read more

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).

Smiley has written 21 books. His memoir, What I Know for Sure: My Story of Growing Up in America, became a New York Times Bestseller, 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 Bestseller’s list.

In the New York Times Bestseller, 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.

Smiley’s book, My Journey With Maya, is being adapted as a stage play by Tony-winning director Kenny Leon. The book chronicles his almost thirty-year friendship with the iconic poet, Maya Angelou. Smiley's 2014 New York Times Bestseller, Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Final Year, and his most recent text, Before You Judge Me: The Triumph and Tragedy of Michael Jackson’s Last Days, are both being developed as television event series with Emmy-winner J.J. Abrams and Smiley as co-producers, in partnership with Warner Brothers. The nonprofit Tavis Smiley Foundation is in the midst of a $3 million four-year campaign called ENDING POVERTY: America’s Silent Spaces to alleviate endemic poverty in America.

TIME magazine has cited Smiley as one of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People,” and Mr. Smiley has been honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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