Rep. John Lewis celebrated by Oprah, Brad Pitt, Gayle King and Tyler Perry

Rep. John Lewis
CBS will honor Rep. John Lewis with a prime-time special.
(Mark Humphrey / Associated Press)

Oprah Winfrey, Brad Pitt, Tyler Perry and Gayle King are joining forces to honor Rep. John Lewis as cohosts of a CBS special dedicated to the late civil rights hero.

Airing Aug. 4, the star-studded, hourlong program will feature performances and appearances by Common, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, Billy Porter, Trevor Noah, Yolanda Adams, Jon Batiste and Wynonna.

“John Lewis was an extraordinary man,” Winfrey said. “A man of great vision who lived a life with the purpose of making sure America lived out its ideals.”


“John Lewis: Celebrating a Hero” — a collection of interviews, reports and musical tributes celebrating the congressman’s legacy — is set to premiere on CBS at 10 p.m. Pacific and Eastern. The special also will air at a later date on BET, MTV, Smithsonian and OWN.

“This is a celebration of the ‘boy from Troy,’” Perry said in a statement. “A forefather of the civil rights movement, who would live to see his contributions for equality result in witnessing the swearing in of the first Black United States president.”

Eulogies delivered by Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and others at the funeral of John Lewis honored the man — and the power of the spoken word.

July 30, 2020

Lask week, a funeral ceremony for Lewis in Atlanta featured powerful speeches from a variety of figures including the Rev. Bernice King; activist Xernona Clayton; the Rev. James Lawson; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Lewis’ niece Sheila Lewis O’Brien; former President Bill Clinton; former President George W. Bush; and former President Barack Obama, who called on Americans to continue Lewis’ trailblazing work through action.

Lewis died July 17 at age 80 after announcing in December that he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

“John Lewis: Celebrating a Hero” is produced by Jesse Collins Entertainment in association with CBS News. Winfrey and Perry also serve as executive producers.

“His commitment to the cause was unwavering, his sacrifices immeasurable,” Gayle King said in a statement. “And he should forever be remembered in the ‘pantheon of patriots.’”