Tavis Smiley: Trying To Empower People With Information - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Tavis Smiley: Trying To Empower People With Information

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On Thursday April 24th, Tavis Smiley is going to receive Star number 2522 on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. He's interviewed everybody, and some of them have even made him laugh.

Fun Facts About Tavis Smiley: (Source: Wikipedia)

1) He is an American talk show host, author, liberal political commentator, entrepreneur, advocate and philanthropist. Smiley was born in Gulfport, Mississippi, and grew up in Bunker Hill, Indiana. After attending Indiana University, he worked during the late 1980s as an aide to Tom Bradley, the mayor of Los Angeles. Smiley became a radio commentator in 1991, and starting in 1996, he hosted the talk show BET Talk (later renamed BET Tonight) on BET. Controversially, after Smiley sold an exclusive interview of Sara Jane Olson to ABC News in 2001, BET declined to renew Smiley's contract that year. Smiley then began hosting The Tavis Smiley Show on NPR from 2002 to 2004 and currently hosts Tavis Smiley on PBS on the weekdays and "The Tavis Smiley Show" from PRI. From 2010 to 2013, Smiley and Cornel West joined forces to host their own radio talk show, Smiley & West. They were featured together interviewing musician Bill Withers in the 2009 documentary film Still Bill. He is the new host of "Tavis Talks" on BlogTalkRadio's Tavis Smiley Network.

2) Twice, Smiley considered quitting college, first during junior year, and then after finishing his internship with Mayor Bradley. Bradley successfully convinced Smiley to return to college. Smiley took the LSAT twice, as he was considering attending Harvard Law School. However, in his senior year, he failed a test in a computer class after being accused of copying another student's work, so he failed that class and several others and lacked nine hours of credit, so he did not graduate from IU. Following a hiring freeze by the government of Los Angeles, Smiley served as an aide to Mayor Bradley until 1990. A 1988 article in the Los Angeles Times identified Smiley as "a Bradley administrative assistant who works in South Los Angeles". In 2003, Smiley officially received his degree from Indiana University in public affairs.

3) Campaigning for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council in 1991 against incumbent Ruth Galanter, Smiley finished fourth among 15 candidates. Smiley became a radio commentator, broadcasting one-minute daily radio segments called The Smiley Report on KGFJ radio. With Ruben Navarrette, Jr., Smiley co-hosted a local talk show in Los Angeles where his strongly held views on race and politics, combined with his arguments regarding the impact of institutional racism and substandard educational and economic opportunities for inner-city black youth, earned him attention on the Los Angeles Times. His commentaries focused on local and national current-affairs issues affecting the African-American community. For six months, Smiley worked on a community news program on a local cable network and spent six more months working on television in Montreal.

Tavis will get his star Thursday morning at 11:30am on Hollywood boulevard, just east of Vine street.

Twitter: @tavissmiley

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