Daron Boyce, 18 years of age, is a senior at Kirby High School where he is a member of the Future Business Leaders of America and works in the principal’s office. He served as campaign manager for a fellow student’s successful endeavor to become student council president. He was a member of the Mr. and Ms. Kirby pageant court. He presently serves on the 2009 Kirby High School prom committee. Daron attended Yo Academy, a performing arts school, where he was a member of the choir and performed in plays such as A Raisin in the Sun and Millions have Come.
Daron is an active member at the Rosemark Church of God in Christ where he participates in youth awareness programs and is very active in his community. His activities include the Memphis Urban League, Pennies for St. Jude Children’s Hospital charity drive and breast cancer awareness fundraiser. He is president of Reading 4 Change, a nonprofit organization that promotes teen reading and community activism. On the National level, Daron was a panelist at the 2008 State of the Black Union symposium presented by Mr. Tavis Smiley.
After graduation Daron plans to attend Lemoyne Owen College and pursue a career in politics.
This fourth generation Angeleno co-starred as Whoopi Goldberg's brother and comic foil in NBC's "Whoopi." Among Wren’s film appearances are "Waiting To Exhale," "Heart & Souls," "Under Siege II," "The Dinner," "Hollywood Shuffle," "Biker Boyz," “The Importance of Being Earnest,” "Midnight Clear" and David Mamet's "Edmond."
On television, Wren was a regular in the new adventures of "Flipper," as well as CBS's "Bless This House." He has also guest starred or recurred on "The West Wing," "The Practice," "Touched By An Angel," "Frasier," "Seinfeld," "Charmed," "Grounded for Life," "Star Trek: Voyager" and as Professor Wilkens on "Half & Half." Wren additionally starred opposite John Larroquette in Hallmark's "McBride 5: Tune in for Murder.” Most recently, Wren has also been seen on “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, “Women’s Murder Club”, “Everybody Hates Chris”, and in his recurring role of Martin Thompson on the “The Game”.
Some of his theatre credits include Shakespeare's "As You Like It" (Drama-Logue award winner), "On Borrowed Time," "Burning Hope" and his NAACP Image Award-nominated performance in "Jeffrey's Plan." Wren has a broad range of commercial, voice-over and spoken word projects including being tapped by acclaimed pianist Billy Childs to recite the classic Langston Hughes poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” on his Grammy-nominated album “I’ve Known Rivers." His voice has been heard narrating The Learning Channel series "Scene of the Crime," the "E! True Hollywood Story" on the life of Diana Ross as well as providing the voice of Disney's Brer Rabbit. It was in this arena that Wren also made his directorial debut, directing over thirty-five actors and actresses in their performances in “Inspired By . . . The Bible Experience,” winner of the 2006 Audio Book of the Year. For that project, Wren also narrated the book of Matthew.
In 1999, Wren made his debut as a producer with the critically acclaimed feature film, "Boesman & Lena" starring Danny Glover and Angela Bassett. Wren is also the founder and producing director of the Ebony Repertory Theatre.
Michael Eric Dyson is hailed as one of the nation’s most inspiring African Americans intellectuals. Dyson has been credited with revitalizing the role of the public intellectual with the fervor of an ordained Baptist minister.
Dyson has authored over seven books that provide some of the most significant commentary on modern social and intellectual thought. His works include, Making Malcolm X; I May Not Get There with You; Hollar if You Hear Me; Mercy, Mercy Me: The Art, Loves and Demons of Marvin Gaye; Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost its Mind? and the recent Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster.
A popular University Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University, Dyson reaches beyond race, addressing the universal commonality of American concern. Dyson is married to his lovely and talented wife, Rev. Marcia Dyson.
Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. is the Director, Center for African American Studies and William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African American Studies at Princeton University. He is also a senior fellow at The Jamestown Project. Prior to his appointment at Princeton, he taught at Bowdoin College and Amherst College in African American Studies and Religion. He received his B.A. from Morehouse College, his M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University.
Glaude is the author of Exodus! Religion, Race, and Nation in Early 19th Century Black America, recipient of the Modern Language Association’s William Sanders Scarborough Book Prize for outstanding scholarly study of black cultural life and/or literature. Professor Glaude is also editor of Is it Nation Time? Contemporary Essays on Black Power and Black Nationalism. This edited collection has been described as “a standard reference for students and scholars of African American intellectual history.” He has also co-edited, with Cornel West, African American Religious Thought: An Anthology. This text is widely viewed as one of the most important books published in African American religion in the last five years. Professor Glaude’s public speeches are known throughout the country as not only intellectually challenging but filled with conviction and inspiration, urging his listeners to speak out against social injustice and to imagine a better world for us and our children.
Glaude's newest book, In a Shade of Blue was published March, 2007.
Raymond Ross is currently the Special Projects Coordinator for Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West. This year will mark the 15th year Raymond has worked alongside Tavis Smiley and The Smiley Group, Inc.
Raymond holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications TV/Film from the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). Ross and his beautiful daughter live in Washington, DC.
Executive Producer, Director
From his celebrated conversations with world figures, to his work to inspire the next generation of leaders, as a broadcaster, author, advocate and philanthropist, Tavis Smiley continues to be an outstanding voice for change.
Smiley is currently the host of the late night television talk show, Tavis Smiley on PBS and The Tavis Smiley Show distributed by Public Radio International (PRI).
In 2007, Smiley made television history as the moderator and executive producer of the All-American Presidential Forums on PBS, the first Democratic and Republican presidential debates broadcast live in primetime with a panel exclusively comprised of journalists of color.
In addition to his radio and television work, Smiley has authored fourteen books. His memoir, What I Know For Sure: My Story of Growing Up in America, became a New York Times bestseller and the book he edited, Covenant with Black America, became the first non-fiction book by a Black owned publisher to reach #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Accountable: Making America As Good As its Promise, in book stores now, examines present-day conditions and the consequences for America. At its core, this book is a tool which the community can evaluate the successes or failures of its political leaders and demonstrates the urgent need to hold politicians and ourselves responsible.
He is also the presenter and creative force behind America I AM: The African American Imprint. This unprecedented traveling museum exhibition is touring the country for four years, celebrating the extraordinary impact of African American contributions to our nation and the world as told through rare artifacts, memorabilia and multimedia.
Smiley's most gratifying accomplishments are rooted in his passion to inspire the next generation of leaders. The Tavis Smiley Foundation, a nonprofit organization, was established to empower Black youth. Since its inception more than 5,000 young people have participated in the foundation's leadership training workshops and conferences.
His communications company, The Smiley Group, Inc., is dedicated to supporting human rights and related empowerment issues and serves as the holding company for various enterprises encompassing broadcast and print media, lectures, symposiums and the Internet.
Smiley's achievements have earned him numerous awards and honorary doctorate degrees including one from his alma mater, Indiana University.
Robert Smith is a 16 year old student at Craigmont High School in Memphis, TN, where he currently holds a 3.100 GPA. Robert is the youngest of three children being raised by his single mom. He is a member of Family Careers and Community Leaders, Distributive Education Clubs of America, and the Memphis Urban League. Robert is also Vice President of Reading-4-Change, a nonprofit organization that encourages teens to read and become actively involved politically and socially.
Robert often participates in community projects such as “Pennies for St. Jude” and can goods for the needy drives. He is an active member of the Rosemark Church of God in Christ. Robert participated and worked in the Memphis Summer Youth program where he earned funds to acquire his school uniforms and shoes for the 2008 school year. Robert is the only male in his home and feels that it is duty to assist his mom with the home finances by purchasing his uniforms, particularly now that his sister is a student at the University of Memphis. He was featured on PBS and C-SPAN, with other members of Reading-4-Change, during the Tavis Smiley’s Presidential debate held at Howard University in 2007.
Robert plans to attend a university of his choice to study political science and law. After obtaining his law degree, Robert’s goal is to run for Memphis City Council and then Mayor of Memphis.
Clifton L. West III is the eldest to Clifton L. West, Jr. and Irene B. West. A former track and field star, West graduated from the University of California with a degree in Psychology and has worked at IBM, MIT and Lincoln Laboratories. Clifton West also started his own private computer software business for 37 years.
Clifton’s passion for music and service resulted in him becoming a co-founder of BMWMB, (Black Men Who Mean Business) a musical movement consisting of Dr. Cornel West and Mike Dailey. It is dedicated to the empowerment, affirmation, and education of all but especially black youth, through the medium of music.
Currently, Clifton resides in Lodi, CA with his wife, three children, four beautiful grandchildren and continues to work in computers and serve the Lord everyday.
One of America’s most provocative public intellectuals, Cornel West has been a champion for racial justice since childhood. His writing, speaking, and teaching weave together the traditions of the black Baptist Church, progressive politics, and jazz. The New York Times has praised his “ferocious moral vision.”
Currently the Class of 1943 Professor at Princeton University, Dr. West burst onto the national scene in 1993 with his bestselling book, Race Matters, a searing analysis of racism in American democracy. Race Matters has become a contemporary classic, selling more than half a million copies to date. In his latest work, Hope on a Tightrope, he offers courageous commentary on issues that affect the lives of all Americans. Themes include Race, Leadership, Faith, Family, Philosophy, Love and Service. Cornel West has published 19 other books and has edited 13 texts. West also offers commentary weekly on The Tavis Smiley Show from PRI (Public Radio International).
West was an influential force in developing the storyline for the popular Matrix movie trilogy and has served as its official spokesperson, as well as playing a recurring role in the final two films.
Dr. West graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University and has a Ph.D. from Princeton.
BeBe Winans, a groundbreaking inspirational, R&B, and Gospel vocalist, writer, and producer, has won four Grammy Awards, ten Dove Awards, six Stellar Awards, two NAACP Awards and a Soul Train Award. A multi faceted artist, BeBe not only has a successful recording career, but also recently launched a syndicated radio show and returned to acting in both film and theater.
As a member of gospel music royalty, BeBe began his career as a background singer for his famous brothers (The Winans) before teaming with sister CeCe Winans in 1987 for an amazing run of smash hits and platinum-selling albums.
This Fall he will launch the BeBe Winans Radio Show with syndicator, SupeRadio Networks. BeBe recently returned to acting, making his feature film debut in Jonathan Demme’s, The Manchurian Candidate. BeBe will also star this September in the off-Broadway touring musical production of King Solomon Lives, A Nubian Love Story. BeBe is no stranger to theater. He previously starred on Broadway in the shows Civil War and Don’t Get God Started and the National Tour of What’s On the Hearts of Men.