From his celebrated conversations with world figures, to his work to inspire the next generation of leaders, as a broadcaster, author, advocate and philanthropist, Tavis Smiley continues to be an outstanding voice for change.
Smiley started his career as an aide to the late Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley. In 1996, he became the resident social and political commentator on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, a post he held for 12 years.
Currently, Smiley hosts the late night television talk show, Tavis Smiley on PBS and The Tavis Smiley Show distributed by Public Radio International (PRI). Smiley is the first American to simultaneously host signature talk shows on both public television and public radio. Newsweek profiled him as one of the "20 people changing how Americans get their news" and dubbed him one of the nation's "captains of the airwaves."
In 2007, Smiley made television history as the moderator and executive producer of the All-American Presidential Forums on PBS, the first Democratic and Republican presidential debates broadcast live in primetime with a panel exclusively comprised of journalists of color.
In addition to his radio and television work, Smiley has authored eleven 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 seller list.
He is also the presenter and creative force behind America I AM: The African American Imprint. This unprecedented traveling museum exhibition will tour 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.
Smiley's most gratifying accomplishments are rooted in his passion to inspire the next generation of leaders. The Tavis Smiley Foundation, a nonprofit organization, was established to empower Black youth. Since its inception, more than 5,000 young people have participated in the foundation's leadership training workshops and conferences. His communications corporation, The Smiley Group, Inc., is dedicated to supporting human rights and related empowerment issues and serves as the holding company for various enterprises encompassing broadcast and print media, lectures, symposiums and the Internet.
Smiley's achievements have earned him numerous awards and honorary doctorate degrees, including one from his alma mater, Indiana University. He is the youngest African American to have a professional school and center named after him on a college or university campus. The Tavis Smiley School of Communications and The Tavis Smiley Center for Professional Media Studies are located at Texas Southern University.
One of ten children, Smiley lives in Los Angeles. In his spare time, he enjoys a good game of Scrabble with friends and listening to music.