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Mo Abudu Isn’t Waiting for Permission

Growing up in London as the child of Nigerian parents, Mo Abudu, saw very little of herself or African culture in the classroom or on air. Determined to shift the narrative, she founded EbonyLife Media, which has grown into a juggernaut of African content. Abudu’s takeaway? “If you don’t take the responsibility to change the narrative, when you leave your storytelling to someone else, then you can’t blame them,” she said. By 2013, “Moments” had made Abudu a household name in Nigeria. Seeing opportunities, Abudu went full Winfrey and started a Pan-African television network: EbonyLife TV. In 2020, Abudu’s umbrella company, EbonyLife Media, abandoned its TV channel to focus on a model based on partnerships with some of the world’s biggest streamers and studios. Today, among what Abudu described as “over 30 deals,” many not yet announced, EbonyLife Media has contracts with Netflix, Sony Pictures Television, AMC and Westbrook Studios, the production company founded by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith.