Tavis Smiley Gets Hollywood Walk of Fame Star

Posted by at 10:36 am on April 24, 2014

tavis-smileyPBS and NPR host Tavis Smiley has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Debuting in 2004, Smiley’s eponymous PBS talker kickstarted its 11th season in January. The show, recipient of four NAACP Image Awards, has featured a wide and varied swath of high-profile guests, from Maya Angelou to Cornel West, from Ethan Hawke to James Taylor.

But it was a desire to serve the public in a deep and meaningful way — “My whole career track at that point was to become an elected official,” he says — and not hobnob with celebrities that, in 1996, pushed Smiley, who is receiving the star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 24, to pen “Hard Left: Straight Talk about the Wrongs of the Right,” a book that worked like a karate chop on conservatives, took note of Democratic Party shortcomings and issued a political call to action.

In 2002 Smiley became the first “person of color” in the history of the United States to have his own daily show on NPR, and then, in 2004, become the first African-American to have his own daily show on PBS. That same year, he became the first and only American — “forget my color,” he notes with a quick flick of the wrist — to host daily talkers on both PBS and NPR.

“The whole thing was always about public service for me, and I saw delivering commentary on issues affecting people as a means to provide that service. My goal has always been to empower people with information that can help them live better lives.”

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