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Tavis  Smiley

Tavis Smiley

Political Commentator & TV Personality

Tavis Smiley

Political Commentator & TV Personality


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 19 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 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.

His most recent text is My Journey with Maya, a remarkable story of friendship, love and courage. In this book, Smiley shares personal memories of his twenty-eight year friendship with Maya Angelou, one of history’s most fascinating women.

My Journey With Maya is being adapted as a stage play by Tony-winning director Kenny Leon, and Smiley's 2014 New York Times Bestseller, Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Final Year, is being produced as a television series special by Emmy-winner J.J. Abrams 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.

Speech Topics

African Americans in the 21st Century

Diversity and Multiculturalism: A National Perspective

A Five-Part Plan to Succeed in College and the Workplace

Advocacy: How to Fight for What You Believe and Make a Difference