Mosunmola Abudu (born 11 September 1964), professionally known as Mo Abudu, is a Nigerian media mogul, philanthropist, and former human resources management consultant.[1][2][3]

Mo Abudu
Abudu c. 2010
Mosunmola Abudu

(1964-09-11) 11 September 1964 (age 59)
London, United Kingdom
OccupationMedia proprietor
Known forOwner of Ebonylife TV
SpouseTokunbo Abudu (divorced)

Biography edit

Early life edit

Mo Abudu was born in Hammersmith, West London. Her father was an engineer and her mother was a caterer. She is ethnic Yoruba. Her family roots are in Ondo Town, southwest Nigeria. She is the eldest of the three sisters in the family. Mosunmola Abudu moved to Nigeria when she was 7 years old to live with her grandparents, and returned to England at the age of 11.

Education edit

She attended the Ridgeway School, MidKent College, and West Kent College. She has a Master's degree in Human Resource Management from the University of Westminster in London.[4] Abudu is currently a member of the British Psychological Society with qualifications in occupational and personality testing.[5]

In 2014, she received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa) from Babcock University.[6] Abudu was awarded by the University of Westminster with an honorary doctorate degree of Doctor of Arts in 2018 in recognition of her contributions to the broadcasting industry in Nigeria.[7][8][9]

Career edit

At the age 19, Mo Abudu was selected to be the brand ambassador for AVON Cosmetics for the African market.[4]

Abudu started her professional career as a recruitment consultant in 1987 with the Atlas Recruitment Consultancy firm in the UK, from where she moved to Starform Group in 1990. She returned to Nigeria in 1993 and was head-hunted by Arthur Andersen to head the Human Resources and Training for oil company, ExxonMobil. She is the founder of Vic Lawrence & Associates Limited.[10][11] She also conceived the Protea Hotel, Oakwood Park.[12] She went on to create, produce and present Moments with Mo, later founded EbonyLife Television, a lifestyle network.[13][14]

EbonyLife edit

Abudu started Ebonylife TV (ELTV) in 2013,[15][16] a network airing in many African countries, the UK and the Caribbean.[17] Ebonylife TV transmitted its first broadcast on 1 July 2013 on Multichoice's DSTV Channel 165. Ebonylife TV later launched a multi-screen video-on-demand (VOD) platform.[18] It had a carriage deal with another pay-TV operator, StarTimes.[19] Abudu is also in charge of EbonyLife Media,[20][21] which includes EbonyLife Films and EbonyLife Studios. She also oversees the EbonyLife Creative Academy, a school focused on teaching filmmaking skills,[22] and EbonyLife Place, a luxury entertainment resort in Nigeria.[23]

Abudu established EbonyLife Films in 2014.[24] Her first film as an executive producer was Fifty. She was a co-producer of The Wedding Party (2016).[25] Other films she has also executive-produced or co-produced are: The Wedding Party 2, The Royal Hibiscus Hotel, Chief Daddy, Your Excellency and Òlòtūré.[26] She also produced Blood Sisters; it made the top ten list globally on Netflix,[27] accumulating over 11 million viewing hours. Mo Abudu's latest project, Elesin Oba, The King's Horseman, premiered in the Special Presentations category at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival.[28] In March 2018, EbonyLife Media and Sony Pictures Television co-produced The Dahomey Warriors.[29] In January 2020, AMC Networks announced its partnership with EbonyLife to produce Nigeria 2099, an afrofuturistic crime-drama created by EbonyLife.[30][31] Other collaborations with international studios include Sony, Netflix, Starz and Lionsgate, BBC, Will and Jada Smith's Westbrook Studios and Will Packer Productions.[32][33][34][35]

Partnerships edit

In February 2020, a new partnership between EbonyLife Media and Netflix was announced. Netflix acquired EbonyLife's drama series: Castle & Castle, Fifty, Sons of the Caliphate, On the Real and The Governor, along with a reality show, The Dating Game, and the feature film The Royal Hibiscus Hotel.[36] Netflix also signed a new deal with EbonyLife on 12 June 2020. According to the deal, she is to work with the teams at Netflix to create two original series and multiple Netflix-branded films.[37] A film adaptation of Death and the King's Horseman and a series based on Lola Shoneyin's debut, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives, were announced.[25] In September 2020, Netflix launched a movie titled Òlòtūré. The movie was shot in Lagos, and the story is mainly centred around human trafficking in Nigeria.[26]

On 4 February 2021, she signed a partnership with Sony in 2018.[38] On 17 February 2021, it was announced that EbonyLife partnered with Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith's Westbrook Studios to produce a slate of film and television projects.[39][40] EbonyLife Place, a lifestyle and entertainment resort, was launched by Mo Abudu in the month of December 2019. It is situated on Victoria Island, Lagos. [41][42] In 2021, the Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture hosted EkoDesign, a furniture design and lighting exhibition.[43] Mo Abudu's EbonyLife Media established a partnership with Sony to set up "Alo" translated into "Once Upon A Time".[44] On 29 November 2021, it was announced that BBC Studios had signed a deal with EbonyLife Media for a development deal.[45] She collaborated with Idris Elba's Green Door Pictures to develop film projects.[46]

In 2021, the Harvard Business School (HBS) featured a case study on the organization.[47] Mo Abudu has delivered speeches at the Wharton School of Business, Cambridge University Judge School of Business, Oxford University and Harvard University.[48]

Reception edit

Mo Abudu enters No. 98 of the Forbes 100 most powerful women for 2021 and 2022.[49] She has been described by Forbes as "Africa's Most Successful Woman",[50][51] and rated as one of the "25 Most Powerful Women in Global Television" by The Hollywood Reporter.[52] In October 2021, The Hollywood Reporter named her among the 20 most powerful women in global entertainment.[53]

Filmography edit

  • The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives (novel) (TV Series)
  • Untitled Billionaire Gucci Master Project
  • Blood Sisters (TV Mini Series 2022)
  • Chief Daddy 2: Going for Broke (2022)
  • Òlòtūré (2019)
  • Chief Daddy (2018)
  • Castle & Castle (TV Series 2018)
  • The Wedding Party 2: Destination Dubai (2017)
  • The Royal Hibiscus Hotel (2017)
  • Fifty (TV Series 2017)
  • Sons of the Caliphate (TV Series)
  • The Wedding Party (2016/II)
  • On the Real (TV Series 2016)
  • The Governor (TV Series)
  • Fifty (2015)
  • Desperate Housewives Africa (TV Series 2015)
  • Dowry (TV Series 2014)
  • Married to the Game - MTTG (TV Series 2014)
  • Deadline (TV Series 2014)
  • Love and War (TV Movie 2013)

Moments with Mo edit

Abudu is the Executive Producer and host of a TV talk show, Moments with Mo, which is the first syndicated daily talk show on African regional television.[54][55]

Abudu with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

By October 2009, over 200 episodes had been recorded and aired with topics ranging from lifestyle, through health, culture, politics, entertainment, tradition, to music and inter-racial marriages. Guests have included celebrities, Presidents, Nobel Laureates, and the 67th US Secretary-of-State Hillary Clinton,[1] Abudu says the show "highlights the life and accomplishments of a usually well known, but sometimes an undiscovered African individual who by his or her own tenacity and determination has accomplished something, overcome something or been a catalyst for something that makes her or him a role model to others."[56]

Aired on M-Net with TV coverage in 48 African countries, the show now also airs on terrestrial and cable TV in other parts of the world.

The show's success and intention to change the world's perception of the African continent has led to comparisons to Oprah Winfrey, with The Independent and Slate Afrique calling her "Africa's Oprah"[1] or "Nigerian Winfrey", respectively.[57]

The Debaters edit

Mo Abudu is the creator and executive producer of The Debaters, a reality television show. Funded by Guaranty Trust Bank, it launched on 3 October 2009. The show focuses on "giving Africa a voice" by promoting oratory.[58]

Honours edit

Forbes Africa recognised Abudu as the first African woman to own a Pan-Africa TV channel (2013).[59][60] She was listed as one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Global TV by The Hollywood Reporter in 2013[61] and received the Entrepreneur of the Year award by Women Werk in New York (2014).[62]

Abudu was nominated to serve as a member of the Advisory Group on Technology and Creatively for Nigeria.[63] Abudu was appointed a Director of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the organization responsible for staging the International Emmy Award.[64][65] The Academy later appointed her as Chair of the 47th International Emmy Awards Gala, held in New York on Monday 25 November 2019. She was the first African to land the role.[66][67]

She was named on the Power list 2018, an annual list of the UK's top 100 most influential people of African and Caribbean heritage. Abudu was nominated to serve as a member of the Advisory Group on Technology and Creatively for Nigeria in 2018 as well.

In 2019, she was awarded the MIPTV's 2019 Médailles d'Honneur, in Cannes, France, making her the first African[68] to be a recipient of the reputable award. Later that year, Abudu was announced as being listed in the 2020 Powerlist, listing the Top 100 of the most influential people in the UK of African/African-Caribbean descent.[69] She is featured in the 493-page book, Greatest Blacks Ever: Top 100 Blacks Who Changed the World for Peace. Progress. Prosperity. Pleasure.,[70] authored by Ambassador Elliston Rahming and published by Dog Ear Publishing.

Mo Abudu is a recipient of an honorary degree from Babcock University,[71] Nigeria and University of Westminster UK, also Médailles d'Honneur from MIPTV in 2019,[72] and Series Mania Woman in Series Award 2022.[73] Abudu received an invitation to become a member of the Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences, ('THE OSCARS') in the PRODUCER membership category.[74] In October 2022 Abudu was awarded a National Honour, 'Officer of the Order of the Niger' (OON) by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.[75]

Abudu in August 2023, was designated as the Creatives Champion for the forthcoming UK-African Investment Summit by the UK Government.[76] She was announced an Executive Fellow of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University.[77]

Personal life edit

Mo Abudu lives in Lagos. She has a son and a daughter[11] and was formerly married to Tokunbo Abudu.[78]

See also edit

References edit

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  6. ^ "Mo Abudu Receives Honorary Doctorate from Babcock University - BellaNaija". 3 June 2014. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
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  8. ^ "Mo Abudu bags Honorary Doctorate Degree from University of Westminster, UK". Punch. 13 November 2019.
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  60. ^ [1] Archived 23 August 2013 at The Guardian (Nigeria)
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  70. ^ Rahming, Elliston (15 June 2017). Greatest Blacks Ever: Top 100 Blacks Who Changed the World for Peace. Progress. Prosperity. Pleasure (1 ed.). Dog Ear Publishing. ISBN 9781457551512.
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  72. ^ Nigeria, Guardian (9 April 2019). "Mo Abudu Receives 2019 Médailles d'Honneur in Cannes at MIPTV". The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News. Retrieved 18 January 2024.
  73. ^ Vivarelli, Nick (8 March 2022). "EbonyLife Chief Mo Abudu to Get Series Mania Award – Global Bulletin". Variety. Retrieved 18 January 2024.
  74. ^ (2 July 2021). "Oscars: Meet the Academy Member Class of 2021 – Ramsey Nouah, Mo Abudu & Andrew Dosunmu". BellaNaija. Retrieved 18 January 2024.
  75. ^ Enenaite, Blessing (15 October 2022). "Entertainers who found favour with Buhari, bag national honour". Punch Newspapers. Retrieved 18 January 2024.
  76. ^ Augoye, Jayne (4 August 2023). "Mo Abudu appointed Creatives Champion for UK-African Investment Summit". Premium Times Nigeria. Retrieved 18 January 2024.
  77. ^ "HBS Announces 2022-2023 Cohort of Executive Fellows". Harvard Business School. 26 October 2022. Retrieved 18 January 2024.
  78. ^ Adoti, Olive (4 August 2017). "Interesting facts from the personal and family life of Africa's Oprah - Mo Abudu". - Nigeria news. Retrieved 23 January 2018.

External links edit