Tavis Smiley Hosts PBS Hurricane Relief Concert

Friday, September 16, 2005

September 15, 2005

PBS Talk Show Host Went to Mississippi to Find Missing Sister and Family

Tavis Smiley had some very good reasons for accepting PBS's offer to host the
television coverage for Live From Lincoln Center's Jazz at Lincoln Center's
Higher Ground Hurricane Relief Benefit Concert airing nationwide on PBS stations
Saturday, September 17, 8-11 p.m. E.T.

It took the PBS late night talk show host less than a heartbeat to accept the
invitation. Not only did Smiley tour the devastation first hand in the immediate
aftermath and devoted extra coverage to it on his nightly show, he also went to
Mississippi to locate and retrieve his sister and her three children who had been
missing for five days.

Smiley was born in Mississippi but spent most of his childhood in Indiana.

"What I have tried to bring forward on both my PBS and PRI shows is the enormous
human magnitude of this disaster," said Smiley. "It is one thing to see the
destruction first hand and know how television images cannot begin to describe it.
It is another to look into the eyes of the people directly affected by it and to
hear their voices. I know that my sister and her family are indeed blessed.
I cannot begin to express how grateful I am to be part of this event."

Featured artists include Wynton Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, Ken Burns, Shirley
Caesar, Cyrus Chestnut, Peter Cincotti, Elvis Costello, Bill Cosby, Aaron Nevile,
Robert De Niro, Paquito D'Rivera, Jon Hendricks, Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Abbey
Lincoln, Bette Midler, Dianne Reeves, Marcus Roberts, Paul Simon, Meryl Streep,
James Taylor, McCoy Tyner, Robin Williams, Cassandra Wilson, Jeffrey Wright,
Buckwheat Zydeco, and many more.

During the television broadcasts phone numbers will be shown on screen so that
viewers can make donations to the Higher Ground Hurricane Relief Fund, The Red
Cross, and Salvation Army.

"Tavis Smiley" is seen weeknights on PBS. For more information, visit

2009 ·Dee Stewart by TNB