AS AFRICA’S ENTERTAINMENT AND MEDIA industry continues to grow globally because of its projects and people, Mo Abudu is excited to see how far it goes.
“It’s about representation, isn’t it?” Abudu tells FORBES AFRICA. “Really, I want stories about me, for me, by me. It has been missing.”
Known to the world as a Nigerian media mogul, Abudu says: “The biggest challenge in our industry are the gatekeepers who continue to not give us the opportunities we need, and that we justifiably deserve; we deserve those opportunities…I am pleased about the work happening in media around the world, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg.”
Combining her entrepreneurship skills and passion for storytelling, in 2013, Abudu founded the entertainment channel EbonyLifeTV. Currently, the station has about 30 shows under production. And although she jokes that projects can be in production “for forever”, she believes that more production companies should do what she has.
“The trick to getting there is being prepared and being ready. It’s about building those relationships; it’s going out to these industry events around the world. They’re not going to come and find you; you’re going to have to go out and find them.” Abudu says. “The highlight, for me, is always about making great shows. I’m always fascinated by the idea that I can wake up and I know that we’re working on a new production.”
She has been rated one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Global Television by The Hollywood Reporter.
However, the thing Abudu is most excited about is the future of African media.
“For the future of Africa, I’m most excited about the stories that we’re telling, the production values get better and better… I remember, growing up, the first black show I could relate to, that came out on television in those days was a show called Fame. It was about this dance academy in New York.
“And for a while I wanted to be a dancer because that was all I could relate to on television. Everything else that was on TV that portrayed a black person, they were either prostitutes or drug addicts or criminals. And we’ve been stereotyped into those roles over the years. And that isn’t our own. That’s not our only reality.”
Abudu has produced original Nigerian stories such as Netflix’s Blood Sisters, which in the first week of broadcast, garnered 11 million hours.
“We got into the top 10 in the UK, in the US, Germany, and a significant number of other countries. So we’re very proud of how well it traveled; it was dealing with universal themes, which people could buy into. The production value was great, the storytelling was great. It was a story people could relate to, and that’s where we’re at right now.”