October 13th, 2012, by

We’re quickly approaching the 2012 presidential elections, and with that comes a lot of topics for debate. We were lucky enough to have political guests Ari Berman and Phyllis Bennis shed some insight on such issues as supposed voter fraud and foreign policy, respectively.

A majority of the population can agree that America can always work harder to be better–something economist Jeffrey Sachs can attest to. Guests T.I. and Sheila Bair also discuss persevering and bettering oneself.

We can only better ourselves with attaining more and more knowledge–we can take a page from NOVA scienceNow host David Pogue‘s book and branch out into something else completely different. (Speaking of doing something different, imagine Pretty in Pink actor Andrew McCarthy being a travel writer!) Or, we can take the knowledge we’ve learned from the ground up to create something of our own, in our own way, much like filmmaker Ava DuVernay. Or, on the other hand, we can take our knowledge and share it with the world through our passions, like pianist Lang Lang.

All in all, our goal as individuals, and in effect, a unified country, is to get better for a brighter future, as writer Joan Walsh suggests. That way, we can become more grateful for what we have…which is something actor Ethan Hawke can find in every facet of his job.

Check out the gallery featuring some of October 2012’s guests.

All images by Van Evers, Tavis Smiley Media, Inc.

October 12th, 2012, by

Here’s a roundup of the guests that graced the couch on the Tavis Smiley set in September 2012.

Coming on the heels of the big presidential election, we had some political guests and some actors who commented on politics as well.

From actors, to TV hosts, musicians and actors-turned-teachers, we had them all. Check out the Seen & Heard gallery below, featuring guitarist Ry Cooder; singer-songwriters Dwight Yoakam and Wyclef Jean; journalist Hedrick Smith and Washington Post managing editor, Chris Cillizza; actors Jeremy Irons, Richard Gere, Jamie Lee Curtis, Penny Marshall and Elizabeth Banks; TV host Iyanla Vanzant; author Salman Rushdie; and actor-turned-teacher, Tony Danza.

All images by Van Evers, Tavis Smiley Media, Inc.


October 12th, 2012, by

The guest highlights for August 2012 illustrated the different facets of one thing: humanity.

TV host Jeff Foxworthy and actress Melanie Lynskey show us that there are different ways to demonstrate faith–whether it’s faith in oneself or in a higher power.

War veteran Brian Castner shows that, even in a war zone, he can feel compassion for others.

Filmmaker Daniel Wolff and writer Ruben Martinez discuss resilience and hope.

And, closing out this installment of Seen & Heard, actor Keanu Reeves discusses the artist’s ambition, and actress Kyra Sedgwick shares her thoughts on acceptance and politics.

All images by Van Evers, Tavis Smiley Media, Inc.

September 7th, 2012, by

With the close of September’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC, and the previous week’s Republican National Convention, it is safe to say that the race for the presidency is heating up.

The RNC featured many familiar faces, such as former GOP candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, and Florida’s Jeb Bush, who defended his brother, George W. Actor Clint Eastwood engaged in a simulated dialogue with a chair (which stood in for President Obama) and Paul Ryan joked about the differences in iPod playlists between himself and his running mate. Finally, Mitt Romney accepted the GOP nomination for president.

The DNC featured moving speeches from former president Bill Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama…The DNC also had its own share of celebrity sightings, from actresses Kerry Washington, Ashley Judd and Natalie Portman. Former congresswoman Gabby Giffords led the pledge of allegiance while the crowd cheered her name. And President Barack Obama accepted his nomination for reelection.

Both conventions touched upon issues of the economy, unemployment, education, health care and more.

Here’s a round up of some of our political guests during the weeks of the national conventions and their insights on the 2012 Election.

August 1st, 2012, by

The month of July showcased a cornucopia of emotions and experiences that sum up life as we know it. As usual, we were lucky to sit down with household names as well as some up-and-comers.

Talking about accomplishments and improvements were writer Joan Walsh and comedian-actor Cedric the Entertainer.

We all have our passions. And we all have different methods in which we strengthen our crafts. Actor Elijah Wood, singer Eddie Levert and architect Frank Gehry discuss how they work on their gifts.

In life, we learn lessons and we hope to share them with the world and leave our mark on history. Environmental activist Erin Brockovich discusses what her parents taught her as a child.

Journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran shares his views on the war in Afghanistan. Chef Marcus Samuelsson discusses a tragic moment that ended in irony. In both cases, it’s proven that hindsight can indeed be 20/20. And singer Glenn Frey discusses the mark the Eagles left on history and in the memories of their fans.

Actor Dwight Henry talks about the New Orleans state of mind, which is a result of historical events and a newfound resilience against hardship.

Actress Niecy Nash talked about love, actor-comedian Jimmie Walker talked about fame and NCAA president Mark Emmert talked scandal.

Check out the gallery below to see notable quotes from some of July guests.

All images by Van Evers, Tavis Smiley Media, Inc.

July 2nd, 2012, by

We closed out the month of June with a lot of self-reflection and insight.

Economist Joseph Stiglitz, actor Jeff Daniels and law professor Peter Edelman each had their own opinions on the state of American politics and culture. While their opinions were quite candid, one could argue that they can spark some positive change. Filmmaker Jonathan Demme had his own input on American politics and culture; he shared with us who his heroes are.

Musicians, actors, songwriters: they’re a lot like us, except touched with fame and recognized talent. But they do a lot of self-reflection. Musician Glen Hansard, actors Morgan Freeman and Kristen Johnston and songwriters Alan and Marilyn Bergman gave us a little insight on how they hone their crafts.

And speaking of insight, filmmaker Peter Berg let us in on why he wanted to make a documentary about boxing trainer Freddie Roach. And Roach let us know just how he felt about that experience.

Farewell June, and hello July!

All images by Van Evers, Tavis Smiley Media, Inc.

June 18th, 2012, by

In this round of guest quotables, a bold line between the realms of imagination and reality was drawn. On team “imagination/daydream,” we had actors Christina Ricci and John Slattery. On team “reality,” we had writer Buzz Bissinger, singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin and “Miracle on the Hudson” pilot Capt. Chesley Sullenberger.

Love is a frequent topic of discussion, and this week was no exception, thanks to blues musician Buddy Guy, sportswriter Frank Deford and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Check out the gallery for some extra photos and notable quotes from the last two weeks of interviews and share your thoughts.

All images by Van Evers, Tavis Smiley Media, Inc.

May 26th, 2012, by

Another star-studded week of lively discussion and insightful comments goes in the books.

There’s a direct relationship between being star-struck and being humbled–actor Dev Patel of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel fame shared a little bit about that. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Gregg Allman also shared how receiving that honor changed his life. Singer-songwriter Carole King was asked to briefly put her modesty aside to reflect on her successes at an early age.

Then there was a theme of healing, as first introduced by urban farmer Will Allen. Person of Interest actor Michael Emerson shed light on “Doctor Theater” and iconic producer Garry Marshall shared his philosophy on healing and overcoming disease in a no-guts-no-glory fashion.

Power. Who has it and what it has become changes like the wind. Let Paralympic medalist-turned-author Bonnie St. John tell you about that. Actor-turned-writer Billy Bob Thornton also had a comment about power, but not in a way that you’d think. Actor-filmmaker Kevin Costner ended the week with a two-part conversation, where he talked about empowering career highlights and pitfalls, upcoming projects and the late Whitney Houston.

Check out the gallery (for a couple of behind-the-scenes shots!) and some notable quotables and share your thoughts.

All images by Van Evers, Tavis Smiley Media, Inc.

May 12th, 2012, by

The last two weeks’ conversations highlighted themes of education, life experiences and love.

Bill Bennett, former education secretary, radio show host and author opened up the floor for the conversation on the impact of education in our country. Microsoft’s vice president of Worldwide Public Sector Education, Anthony Salcito, shared how technology affected his education and how he plans to pay it forward to today’s youth. Sheryl WuDunn, one of Newsweek’s 150 Women Who Shake the World, also touched upon how the need for education is a global issue. And actor Ed Helms of The Office fame joked about some news outlets that educate our TV-watching youth.

To hear columnist-author Anna Quindlen speak on life experiences and learning is no surprise, since her memoir, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, celebrates life and aging gracefully. Television network heavyweight Warren Littlefield also paid a visit and reflected on what he’s learned from his experience in the entertainment business. It’s true what they say: hindsight is 20/20.

Of course, the show wouldn’t be the same without a little humor. In this case, actor Damian Lewis pokes fun at President Obama.

And finally, shedding a little light on love was singer-songwriter Jason Mraz. Love Story star Ryan O’Neal closed out the week and sat down with us to detail his memoir about his relationship with his soul mate, the late actress Farrah Fawcett.

All images by Van Evers, Tavis Smiley Media, Inc.

April 28th, 2012, by

Every now and then, the tables are turned and it’s Tavis sitting on the hot seat. Interviewed by the dean of the talk show genre, Phil Donahue, Tavis and Dr. Cornel West discussed their new text, among other social issues.

Speaking of social issues, actress and Southern belle Annie Potts stopped by to discuss her thoughts on conservatives who critiqued her show, GCB, and how her upbringing influenced her to accept her role in the show. Children’s author Judy Blume also paid us a visit and gave her two cents on censorship in the Internet age.

As summer quickly approaches, the influx of Hollywood blockbusters begins to create a buzz–just ask actor Clark Gregg. Summer is also the time for hitting the beach and relaxation, which means posting up with an interesting read or some soothing tunes. Between author Ayad Akhtar, actor-turned-author Frank Langella and crooner Steve Tyrell, you’ve got a head start on picking out some summer material.

Check out images of and quotes from the last two weeks and share your thoughts.

Phil Donahue image courtesy of Earl Gibson III. All on-set images by Van Evers, Tavis Smiley Media, Inc.

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