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However, by summer he received a letter from the city stating that all internship positions were filled.
Although it counted for college credit, the internship was unpaid, so the Bloomington Community Progress Council funded Smiley with ,000 for living expenses in Los Angeles, and Brown allowed Smiley to live as a houseguest in September 1985.
Brown introduced Smiley to fellow football player George Hughley, who worked for Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley and connected Smiley to Mayor Bradley's staff.
Every week after meeting Bradley's staff, Smiley wrote a letter to the mayor's office asking for an internship, and once flew to Los Angeles to appeal.
Smiley was born in Gulfport, Mississippi, and grew up in Bunker Hill, Indiana.
After attending Indiana University, he worked during the late 1980s as an aide to Tom Bradley, the mayor of Los Angeles.
He became a radio commentator, broadcasting one-minute daily radio segments called The Smiley Report on KGFJ radio.
Smiley also used his commentator status on Joyner's radio show to launch several advocacy campaigns to highlight discriminatory practices in the media and government, and to rally support for causes such as the awarding of a Congressional Gold Medal to civil rights icon Rosa Parks.His commentaries focused on local and national current-affairs issues affecting the African-American community. Also in 1996 Smiley began hosting and executive producing BET Tonight (originally BET Talk when it first premiered), a public affairs discussion show on the Black Entertainment Television (BET) network.He interviewed major political figures and celebrities, and discussed topics ranging from racial profiling and police brutality to R&B music and Hollywood gossip.Smiley also began building a national reputation as a political commentator with numerous appearances on political discussion shows on MSNBC, ABC, and CNN.Smiley was then offered a chance to host a radio talk show on National Public Radio.
Ultimately BET and Viacom did not reverse their decision to terminate Smiley's contract.