Tavis Smiley starts tour at Lee Hall

Nationally recognized author, journalist, political commentator and talk show host, Tavis Smiley, will bring his “Talented Tenth Tour” to Florida A&M University Thursday.

The event is geared towards encouraging students to become successful. Smiley said the purpose of the tour is to promote success in and outside of college.

The theme of the event is “Are you part of the talented ten?”

The question stems from the theory proposed by black activist W.E.B DuBois.

Ashley Johnson, campus activities board chair, is one of the students working behind the scenes to make Smiley’s appearance a success.

“People come to college and drop out for various reasons,” said Johnson, 21, a fourth-year pharmacy candidate from Miami. “We want to encourage students to graduate and persevere… we want them to strive for more than what is in front of them.”

FAMU is one of five historically black colleges and universities chosen for the tour. The other schools included in the tour are

For CAB, getting students to attend the event is one the hardest parts.

Johnson said she and two other members of SGA had to persuade professors to either make the event a requirement or extra credit for classes, so students will attend.

“It is hard getting students interested in cultural or political events,” Johnson said.

Despite the extra credit incentive, some students are not eagerly awaiting the tours’ arrival.

Anthony Smith, 21, a third-year mechanical engineering student from Atlanta, said he is not looking forward to attending the event.

Smith said he feels that the event will be a waste of his time.

Brandon Johnson, 22, a fourth-year business student from Orlando, agrees with Smith.

“If it wasn’t a requirement, I don’t think I would go.”

However, some students realize its benefit.

“I am not too familiar with Tavis Smiley, however, [the event] seems like something that might be inspirational and give me the motivation I need for the semester,” said Azalea Hart, 20, a third-year education student from Jackson, Miss.

Johnson said her vision is to provide more culturally enriching events to students and provide them with a different view.

“I want to encourage students to take an active interest in -their future and go above and beyond [their dreams],” Johnson said. “I do not want them to become complacent.”

The event is free of charge and online registration is available. However, students are encouraged to register ahead of time.

Doors open at 5 p.m. for registration and the first 1,000 students will receive t-shirts. The event begins at 6 p.m.

For more information on the “Talented Tenth Tour” visit http://tavistalks.com or call the Office of Student Activities at (850) 599-3400.