12-08-2016  6:09 am      •     

Seventy-fifth birthdays only happen once, and the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle has decided to celebrate in style.

Television and radio host Tavis Smiley will be the featured speaker at the league's upcoming 2005 benefit breakfast, which will mark its 75th anniversary in the city.

The breakfast is set for 7:30 to 9 a.m. Friday, Dec. 9, at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center, 800 Convention Place in downtown Seattle. Tickets cost $70, $80 or $100 depending on location; call 206-461-3792 ext. 3009 or e-mail events@urbanleague.org to reserve a spot.

Time magazine 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."

With his late night television talk show, Tavis Smiley on PBS, and his radio show The Tavis Smiley Show from NPR, Smiley was the first American ever to simultaneously host signature talk shows on both PBS and National Public Radio. Smiley's television show continues now in its second season, and The Tavis Smiley Show on public radio is distributed by Public Radio International.

Smiley, who started his career as an aide to the late Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley, also offers political commentary twice weekly on the Tom Joyner Morning Show. In addition, he has authored eight books and has his own imprint (Smiley Books) with Hay House.

Texas Southern University recently honored Smiley with the opening of The Tavis Smiley School of Communications and The Tavis Smiley Center for Professional Media Studies, making Smiley the youngest African American to ever have a professional school and center named after him on a college or university campus.

The mission of his nonprofit organization — the 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.

Smiley has received numerous honorary doctorate degrees including one from his alma mater, Indiana University. One of 10 children, Smiley is single and lives in Los Angeles. In his spare time, he enjoys a good game of Scrabble with friends.

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