Activist and PBS host Tavis Smiley is ending his annual State of the Black Union conference after 10 years.
Smiley says he was inspired to start the event because black issues were rarely addressed in the president’s State of the Union speech or in the national media. The conference averaged 7,000 to 10,000 participants each year, was broadcast on C-SPAN and drew speakers ranging from President Barack Obama to basketball great Magic Johnson.
Smiley says he’s ending the event because he needs time to focus on other projects, such as his four PBS prime-time specials this year. He also says black issues now are being addressed by numerous other media outlets, commentators and bloggers.
Smiley tells The Associated Press the series “doesn’t have the premium that it used to have — and that’s a good thing.”