Meet Africa’s Oprah On ‘Moments With Mo’

Meet Africa’s Oprah On ‘Moments With Mo’

From The Independent:

Back in 2006, with her two children having reached their teens, Mosunmola ‘Mo’ Abudu decided she wanted to make a rather abrupt career change. Though she was a successful human-resources executive for oil giant ExxonMobil, her heart was set on migrating from the boardroom chair to the chat-show sofa. There was just one problem. The Nigerian businesswoman had no TV experience whatsoever.

So she attempted to contact the woman best placed to provide some pertinent advice. “The first thing I did was to buy a box collection of Oprah’s 20th anniversary, which had about 20 tapes of various episodes that she’s done,” Abudu explains. “Then I somehow got the details for her studios in America. I must have sent Madam Oprah Winfrey tons of emails. I was really hoping that she would give me the necessary guidance and mentorship to become Africa’s talk-show hostess and executive producer of my own show.”

Alas, the world’s first black female billionaire never replied to Abudu. But that didn’t stop her. In the seven years since she made her first sketchy TV pilot, the 49-year-old has created Moments with Mo, the first African daily talk show to be syndicated across the continent. She has interviewed the likes of Hillary Clinton, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, musician R Kelly and designer Diane von Furstenberg; journalists around the world have been quick to label her ‘Africa’s answer to Oprah’.

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However, Abudu’s dream did not originate in Africa or even Middle America – it began in 1970s Kent. “I was born in England and I am very at home here,” she says. “I went to school in London and Tunbridge Wells. I was probably the second or third black person in that school and you find that you are being continually asked questions that just boggle your mind. Do you guys live in trees? Do you guys dance around fires? What do you eat for breakfast?

“For ever and ever, I always felt that I had to fight to prove who I was. For me, I think somewhere deeply buried in my subconscious was a need to tell Africa’s story. My burning desire is just to tell everybody: listen, we’re not a bunch of savages. We really are gifted.”

Written by Etan Smallman | Read more at The Independent