Recently, I scanned through the 36 STATES archives to review some of the stories and topics that I previously shared on the blog and came to a realization that the blog lacks stories on women. There are many women who have done great works in the past and presently doing great things within the pop culture space in Nigeria and the Diaspora. The interaction about my car ride with Sade’s niece was written to address the limited topics on impactful Nigerian women. While Nigeria has had great accomplishments from men, there are a vast number of women that are putting their stamp on the culture. My most recent post was about the movie tiltled “Fifty” which was produced by Ebony Life Productions, which is owned by the media mogul - Mosunmola Abudu (better known as Mo Abudu).
Mo Abudu is a 50-year old Nigerian media entrepreneur and talk show host and the founder of EbonyLifeTV. She transitioned from a career in the corporate world to running her own syndicated talk show and now operating Media Company. EbonyLifeTV is considered one of the fastest growing African multi broadcast entertainment network, which showcases informative and entertaining programs that portray Africa at its best. One of her mandates for the network is to rewrite Africa’s story.
Mo Abudu is referred to as the African Oprah because of her talk show, Moments with Mo and also her EbonyLife TV network that is syndicated across Africa and also broadcasted in Europe. During my visit to Nigeria in 2009, one of the gaps I saw at the time was programming that understood the changing landscape of the culture and how the information age will impact the perspectives of the youth. There were many shows that highlighted American culture and some that highlighted African culture, but none of them bridged the gap that Mo Abudu is reconciling with her television network.
I was able to find some information on Mo Abudu through some of the interviews she has done. In her interviews she expresses her objectives of the television station, her production company and overall vision for the Africa she wants to project globally. Similar to many in the Diaspora, she also faced the ignorant perspectives of many who only see Africa portrayed through American and European lenses that distorts the reality of many Africans. Mo Abudu has made it her duty to tell the African narrative in a contemporary and interesting way and to highlight the fact that the continent is full of gifted and remarkable people.
The journey to creating her own show and network has not come easy. She indicates that there was a pushback from networks who were not interested in a Pan-African talk show along with the fact that even after developing several pilots, there was only licensing agreement in place. The licensing agreement meant that the sponsors would be sort after by Mo Abudu and her team, while the net work bought the content at an agreed upon price.
One of the issues with the media industry in Nigeria and across Africa is the lack of financing available that limits the potential for new and innovative creatives’ to flourish on the continent. Mo Abudu recognizes the impact of the lack of knowledge of the media business and covered her bases through the hiring of financial consultants to navigate the African and Nigerian marketplace to determine how to maintain viability.
EbonyLife TV is creating the content that speaks to and for the demographic between the ages of 18 – 34. As someone who is within the target market for the television network, the television station presents an avenue for the views of the targeted demographic to be shared across the continent. This will highlight the changes in culture through avenues such as reality shows, talk shows, dramatic visuals and comedy. The platform Mo Abudu has created with EbonyLife TV also allows for the promotion of many African brands that are not yet ubiquitous.
The media is a powerful tool that can be used to change and rebrand the image of Africa and its power should not be underestimated. Mo Abudu and her television station will provide 1000 hours of original programming per year, which is remarkable for a station that has been in operation for only a few years. She is a renaissance woman and her vision should be followed closely because she has addressed a niche in the marketplace for programming that targets those in the demographic that are currently impacting not only the African continent but also the global community through their music, art, fashion and politics.