LAGOS (April 24, 2014) A CNN report titled “How ‘Africa’s Oprah’ conquered a continent”, has profiled Mo Abudu, CEO and Executive Chairman of EbonyLife TV, Africa’s first Global Black Entertainment and Lifestyle network, as the woman who conquered the continent of Africa.
During an interview on ‘Leading Women’, CNN’s popular news feature that showcases global extraordinary women who are at the top of their fields and careers, the world’s foremost cable news network celebrated ‘Mo’, as she is fondly called, as a dynamic talk show host and media entrepreneur who presents the vision of a very different Africa.
CNN also attributed its assertion of Ms Abudu’s industry conquest to her glowing career and business accomplishments, her relentless and passionate portrayal and celebration of a better Africa – ‘one brimming with entrepreneurs, academics, and artists’; her huge popularity and growing media empire, leading to her glamorous reputation as the first black woman to own a pan-African TV channel.
“What makes Abudu’s story remarkable is not that she conquered African TV,” remarked CNN’s Sheena McKenzie and Stephanie Busari, “but that she did it without any prior media experience.”
Labeling her the queen of African chat shows and “Oprah of Africa,” the CNN report trailed Ms. Abudu’s sterling background at oil giant ExxonMobil where she was head of human resources for about a decade; to Vic Lawrence & Associates, Nigeria’s leading HR consultancy firm and executive training centre; to her philanthropy work with The Inspire Africa Foundation which is already nearly completing a one hundred-bed home for the less-privileged called The Harbour, a project in partnership with Moreno Construction.
Acknowledging her “deep-seated passion to tell Africa’s story”, the report noted Ms Abudu’s distaste for racial discrimination and afro-pessimism. Recognizing her zeal to pursue different and better narratives on Africa when in the streets of London a couple of years ago, the report described how she went about with a microphone, randomly stopping people and asking what came to their minds when they heard the word Africa.
“Starving children, poverty, HIV, Mugabe,” were some of the responses she got. Others simply described Africa as a place with “babies with flies on their faces.” Asked why they thought their descriptions truly represented the continent, the general answers Abudu got were: “It’s what I read in the newspapers,” or “It’s what I see on television” or “Because that’s the popular notion of Africa.”
Pained by this one-sided perspective of the continent, CNN observed that Mo Abudu decided it was time the rest of the world saw a different view of Africa. This determination led her to create a platform that would showcase the best of Africa to the world and elevate its entertainment content for a global audience.
Barely nine months old now, that platform, EbonyLife TV, channel 165 on DStv, has continued to rise in continental and global awareness, as well as in influence and viewership. Interestingly, the Global Black entertainment and lifestyle network has recently been rated in the top 25% of all channels watched on the DStv platform.
For all this, Mo Abudu is grateful to three sets of people, besides God – her team, the viewers and her clients. “I feel very humbled by this recognition. Every time I get honored like this I look in two directions. I look up and also look around. I look up and thank God, realizing that without Him we are powerless, but with God we can do all things. I also look around, and what do I see? I see my team; I see the viewers who actually own the channel; and most importantly, I see our clients. I thank them all.”
Thanking the clients further, she says: “I feel really humbled to be viewed as having conquered the continent, media wise. But if CNN said it, then we certainly have not done it alone. I would like to thank all our clients who have supported us and embarked on this exciting journey of changing global perceptions about Africa through the EbonyLife TV vision. They have partnered, and continue to partner with us in showcasing the best of Africa. They are strong brands that believe in supporting the growth of media in Africa as well as showcasing premium, original content.”
She continues, “Many thanks therefore to the Cross River State Government, US State Department, Nigerian Breweries, Diageo, General Electric, First Bank, Diamond Bank, Zenith Bank, ARIK Air, UBA, Nokia, MAC Cosmetics, Samsung, Friesland Campina, among others. Thank you so much for partnering with us to conquer the continent.”
In consistency with its vision, which is to be the preferred global network for premium African entertainment through the creation and broadcast of homegrown and premium content, EbonyLife TV commenced its 100% homegrown entertainment programming on January 01, 2014, heralding a new and refreshing viewing experience loaded with the best of original African lifestyle and entertainment content which cut across music, lifestyle, film, drama, talk, factual, comedy, magazine, reality and fashion.
Three times better, Africa’s first and daily syndicated talk show, Moments with Mo continues to bring viewers the most magnetic views and insights through Africa’s Queen of Talk herself, Mo Abudu, with her co-hosts, Dolapo Oni and Bolanle Olukanni; Love Lounge, the unique Radio/TV simulcast talk show with Oreka Godis makes sense of contentious love, sex and relationship issues; award winning The Spot serves viewers that daily mélange of talk and sitcom in the coolest hang-out style format; Fattening Room is a spell-binding, must-see reality show with a difference; with six single, beautiful and feisty ladies from six different African countries united by an exciting quest for one thing: the secret to finding and keeping love, the old Efik way!
Other exhilarating never-to-be-missed homegrown shows include the often star studded Banky & Tiwa Show; the compelling daily entertainment magazine show EL Now; EL Rated, the new hilarious street-wise countdown show; the suspense-filled mystery thriller, Married to the Game; EL Reports, with the easy talking Arit Okpo, brings viewers the latest African headlines and positive news from around Africa; amongst many others.
Mo Abudu’s continuous rising profile as an international media icon is continuously underlined by some of the many awards she has received lately for her numerous exceptional achievements, among which include the Forbes Award for The First Woman in Africa to own and operate a pan-African TV Channel; The Hollywood Reporter’s recognition as one of The 25 Most Powerful Women in Global TV; New African Magazine’s recognition as one of the 100 most influential Africans; and Entrepreneur of the Year award given by WomenWerk, an alumni group of the University of Columbia.