Some would say that an exclusive interview with the President of the United States, during one of the most controversial scandals to ever hit the White House, is the interview of a lifetime. Others would say interviewing Fidel Castro in the wake of unprecedented U.S. sanctions relief or the conversation with Pope John Paul II was the most significant.
Time selected Smiley as one of America's 50 most promising young leaders. 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." Vanity Fair inducted him into their Hall of Fame. The New York Post screamed, "Look out Larry King—here comes Tavis Smiley!" The Los Angeles Times says he's on the "fast track, left lane." The Washington Post declared that he's "winning friends and influencing people." The Philadelphia Inquirer says Smiley is one of the most important political voices of his generation. Essence raves that his political writings "show us how to correct America's swerve to the right." And Buzz magazine rated him one of the "100 coolest people in Los Angeles."
His late night television show—Tavis Smiley—is the first program in the history of PBS to broadcast from the West Coast. Host of The Tavis Smiley Show from NPR, he is the first African American to host his own signature talk show in the history of National Public Radio. He hosts The Smiley Report, heard daily on urban contemporary radio stations across America, and appears twice weekly on the Tom Joyner Morning Show. In addition, Smiley has an imprint (Smiley Books) with Hay House, creating a series of products including empowerment cards, audiocassettes, mini-books and success seminars. He was previously the host of the award-winning BET TONIGHT with Tavis Smiley.
Smiley has authored six books. His most recent, Keeping the Faith: Stories of Love, Courage, Healing and Hope from Black America, is an inspiring collection of personal narratives about love, loss and faith by African Americans from all walks of life.
The mission of his nonprofit organization—Tavis Smiley Foundation—is to enlighten, encourage and empower Black youth. Tavis Smiley Presents, a subsidiary of The Smiley Group, Inc., brings ideas and people together through symposiums, seminars, forums and town hall meetings. His advocacy work has been profiled on 60 Minutes.
Smiley is a graduate of Indiana University, and was previously a top aide to former Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley. One of ten children, he is single and lives in Los Angeles. In his spare time, Smiley enjoys a good game of Scrabble with friends.