News / Africa

'Africa’s Oprah' Showcases Different Side of Continent

'Africa’s Oprah' Showcases Different Side of Continenti
X
Heather Murdock
May 04, 2014 9:31 PM
Sometimes called the "Oprah of Africa," Mosunmola "Mo" Abudu is a leader in the African television industry. She runs the only continent-wide television network and hosts its flagship talk show. Heather Murdock reports for VOA from Lagos.
Heather Murdock
Sometimes called "the Oprah of Africa," Mosunmola "Mo" Abudu is a leader in the African television industry.  She runs the only continent-wide television network and hosts its flagship talk show.  Her mission: to shed stereotypes and portray Africa in the same way Hollywood portrays America; as a dynamic, modern place that grapples with complex issues.  

There is no shortage of glamour in Lagos, Nigeria’s financial capital and home to Nollywood, arguably the most prolific film industry in the world.
 
But there might be no one in Lagos more glamorous than Mo Abudu, who heads EbonyLife TV, which calls itself “Africa’s first Global Black entertainment and lifestyle network” and beams into nearly every country on the continent.
 
At her office in Lagos, she says that for her, media is not just entertainment.
 
“I think it is critical for Africa to tell its own story.  I was born in the U.K.  Went to school in the U.K.  I have been asked the most absurd questions about who I am.  And I think I felt that media was one of the most powerful tools to let the world know who we were," said "Mo" Abudu.

Extreme poverty and underdeveloped desert land are the two images of Africa most often seen on television, Abudu says.
 
“The realties that you often see on television are not the only realities that exist.  So it is important for us to show the world that there’s another reality.  Also it is important for us as Africans to see a more positive side of Africa rather than that that is often reported, I am sorry to say, by the Western media," she said.

These realities include a growing middle class and modern technologies impacting all aspects of life, she says.
 
The network’s flagship program, a talk show called ‘Moments With Mo,’ has led fans to dub Abudu as ‘Africa’s Oprah.’  
 
Abudu says she has not met American media mogul and TV star Oprah Winfrey, but she wants to.

“This is someone I have looked up to all my life.  She is an unknowing mentor, black woman who is strong and powerful and made her impact felt globally," she said.

In the meantime EbonyLife is sponsoring a new home in Lagos that is expected to house 100 girls that would otherwise be living on the streets.
 
Young African women face enormous challenges, she says, but she is living proof that it is possible for them to lead industries on the continent.
 
“What I would like to say to young women in Africa today that want to be like me is that you have to just work really, really hard.  You are going to get lots of knocks, people telling you can not do it.   Which is why its important for you to have that deep-seated belief that you can do it," she said.

Abudu does not deny that some African stereotypes are part of life in Nigeria.  But Africa is changing fast, she says, and part of her mission is show that these stereotypes are not the entire picture.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: soumahoro ganifou from: abidjan
May 05, 2014 6:09 PM
I really appreciated this kind of initiative which show the good view and images of our lovely africa we should stand for that, it has been so long time where foreigner in their way of seeing things were showing,speakind according to their need the information about africa now is the time for everyone to say enough is enough and showing our real information about/for african. it is the peaceful land where people lives in brotherhood not the harmful areas
In Response

by: Johnson from: Lagos
May 09, 2014 6:30 AM
Mo Abudu is doing great for Nigeria and the continent of Africa as a whole. Although the continent is continuously bedeviled by negativeness, this woman continues to make us proud as Black People. Well done, Mo! You are a worthy ambassador of the continent. God bless you.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More