Mo Abudu

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Mo Abudu
Mosunmola Abudu 1.jpg
Born (1964-09-11) 11 September 1964 (age 57)
London, United Kingdom
EducationRidgeway School
MidKent College
West Kent College
University of Westminster
OccupationMedia proprietor

Mosunmola Abudu, also known as Mo Abudu, (born on 11 September 1964) is a Nigerian media mogul, philanthropist, and former human resources management consultant.[1][2][3] She has been described by Forbes as "Africa's Most Successful Woman",[4][5] and rated as one of the "25 Most Powerful Women in Global Television" by The Hollywood Reporter.[6]


Early life[edit]

Mo Abudu was born in Hammersmith, West London. Her father was an engineer, he died in 1975. Her mother was a caterer. Mo's family roots are in Ondo Town, in the south-west of Nigeria. She is the eldest amongst three sisters.


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. She is a member of the British Psychological Society with the qualification in occupational and personality testing.[7]

In 2014, she was honoured with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (Honouris Causa) from Babcock University.[8] The University of Westminster awarded Abudu with an honorary doctorate degree in 2018 for her contributions to the broadcasting industry in Nigeria.[9][10]

In 2018, the University of Westminster awarded Mo an honorary degree of Doctor of Arts.


In 1983, Mo Abudu was selected to be the brand ambassador for AVON Cosmetics for the African market.

Mo 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 giant, ExxonMobil.She is the founder of Vic Lawrence & Associates Limited[11][12] She went to create, produce and present Moments with Mo, later founded a television station (Ebony Life Television)[13][14] and has been producing entertainment contents till date.

Ebony Life TV & Film[edit]

In 2006, Mo Abudu started EbonyLife TV (ELTV),[15][16] a network airing in more than 49 countries across Africa, as well as in the UK and the Caribbean.[17] to a pan-African audience. EbonyLife TV transmitted its first broadcast on 1 July 2013 on Multichoice's DSTV Channel 165. Less than a year into operations, EbonyLife TV, ranking among the top 25% of most watched channels on the DStv platform, launched a premium, multi-screen video-on-demand (VOD) platform targeting Africans in the diaspora.[18] It expanded its Sub Sahara African reach, following a carriage deal with another pay-TV operator StarTimes.[19] Notable among TV drama series executive-produced and/or produced by Abudu, and aired on ELTV, include: Desperate Housewives Africa in partnership with Disney, Sons Of The Caliphate, Castle & Castle, On the Real and The Governor.[20]

Abudu established EbonyLife Films in 2014. Her first film as executive producer was Fifty (film). Teaming up with The ELFIKE Collective in 2016, she produced The Wedding Party,. The film became the highest-grossing title of all time in the Nigerian film industry (Nollywood).[21] Other films she has also executive-produced or co-produced are: The Wedding Party 2, The Royal Hibiscus Hotel, Chief Daddy, Your Excellency (film) and Òlòtūré, "the story of a young, naïve Nigerian journalist who goes undercover to expose the shady underworld of human trafficking."[22] Òlòtūré's private screening was co-hosted with the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) at CAA's Los Angeles headquarters in June 2019.[23]

In March 2018, Sony Pictures Television (SPT) announced that they had concluded a three-year deal with EbonyLife TV that would include co-production of The Dahomey Warriors, a series about the Amazons who took on French colonialists in a 19th-century west African kingdom.[24] She was announced as the chair of the 47th international Emmy Awards gala that took place in New York on 25 November 2019.[25]

In January 2020, AMC Networks (USA) announced its partnership with EbonyLife to produce Nigeria 2099, an afrofuturistic crime-drama created by EbonyLife.[26][27]

In February 2020, a new partnership between EbonyLife TV and Netflix was announced. The streaming giant 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 feature film, The Royal Hibiscus Hotel.[28]

In June 2020, Netflix signed a new deal with EbonyLife. According to the deal, she is to work with the teams at Netflix to create two original series as well as multiple Netflix-branded films.[29] Among the highlights will be a film adaptation of Death and the King’s Horseman, a play by Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka, and a series based on Lola Shoneyin’s best-selling debut novel, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives.[21]

In December 2019, Mo Abudu opened Ebonylife Place, a lifestyle and entertainment resort located on Victoria Island, Lagos.[30][31] On 12th June 2020, Mo Abudu partnered with U.S.-based streaming company Netflix to create two new TV series and several films. On 4th February, 2021, she signed Nigeria's first look deal, The deal expands on a partnership struck with Sony in 2018 and adds to a multi-title deal the company has with Netflix.[32] On 17th February 2021, it was announced that Ebony Life partners with Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith's Westbrook Studios to produce a slate of film and television projects each connected to the African continent.[33][34]

In September 2020, Netflix launched a movie tittled 'Oloture', a story by Mo Abudu which was a powerful art-nouneau-style movie. The movie was shot in Lagos and mainly centred around human trafficking in Nigeria. Talking about the movie, she said "Òlòtūré explores a world very few people know anything about, and that had to be dealt with in a particular way," she added "It’s not a documentary, but it addresses real issues most of our society doesn’t see, harnessing the talents of some of the country’s top actors and filmmakers to produce a film that is both intelligent and profound – and breaks bold new genre and stylistic ground for Nollywood."[22]

Ebony Life Place was launched by Mo Abudu in the month of December 2019. It is Nigeria's first lifestyle and entertainment resort. It boosts unique features like EbonyLife Place, EbonyLife Cinemas, The White Orchid Hotel, Popina, Túraká rooftop restaurant & bar, The Wrap Pool Bar & Restaurant, The Victoria Hall, and The VVIP Lounges. It is situated on Victoria Island, Lagos.

Moments with Mo[edit]

Mo 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.[35][36]

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."[37]

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.[38]

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.[39]


Forbes Africa recognised Abudu as the first African woman to own a Pan-Africa TV channel (2013).[40][41] She was listed as one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Global TV by The Hollywood Reporter in 2013[42] and received the Entrepreneur of the Year award by Women Werk in New York (2014).[43]

Abudu was nominated to serve as a member of the Advisory Group on Technology and Creatively for Nigeria.[44] Abudu was appointed a Director of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the organization responsible for staging the International Emmy Award.[45][46] 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.[47][48]

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[49] 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.[50] She is featured in the 493-page book, Greatest Blacks Ever: Top 100 Blacks Who Changed the World for Peace. Progress. Prosperity. Pleasure.,[51] authored by Ambassador Elliston Rahming and published by Dog Ear Publishing

Mo Abudu is set to be awarded the 2019 Médailles d'Honneur in Cannes at the Marche International des Programmes de Television (MIPTV). She is one of the 4 recipients of the award, which she will receive in April 2019. Mo Abudu is represented by the Creative Artists Agency (CAA).

Personal life[edit]

Mo Abudu lives in Lagos. She has a son and a daughter.[12] and was formerly married to Tokunbo Abudu.[52]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Smallman, Etan (16 November 2013). "Meet Africa's Oprah: Why Mosunmola 'Mo' Abudu wants to change the world's view of her continent". Independent. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  2. ^ Amagiya, Florence (2 August 2014). "Mo Abudu, the pie that made her rich". The Vanguard. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  3. ^ "Mosunmola Abudu a.k.a. Mo Abudu – DAWN Commission". Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  4. ^ Arogundade, Funsho (9 January 2015). "Mo Abudu Is Forbes Africa's Most Successful Woman". Prime News. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  5. ^ "Africa's Most Successful Women: Mo Abudu". Forbes. 1 January 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  6. ^ Roxborough, Scott (10 October 2017). "25 Most Powerful Women in Global Television". The Hollywood Reporter.
  7. ^ Smallman, Etan (16 November 2013). "Meet Africa's Oprah: Why Mosunmola 'Mo' Abudu wants to change the world's view of her continent". Independent. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  8. ^ "Mo Abudu Receives Honorary Doctorate from Babcock University - BellaNaija". 3 June 2014. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  9. ^ "Mo Abudu bags Honorary Doctorate Degree from University of Westminster, UK". Punch. 13 November 2019.
  10. ^ "Mo Abudu awarded honorary doctorate by University of Westminster". The Guardian. 13 November 2019.
  11. ^ Amagiya, Florence (2 August 2014). "Mo Abudu, the pie that made her rich". Vanguard.
  12. ^ a b "I left ExxonMobil as HR manager to fulfill my personal dream – Mo Abudu". 24 January 2010. Archived from the original on 27 January 2010. Retrieved 12 March 2010.
  13. ^ Mndawe, Khethiwe (25 November 2017). "Mo Abudu: It's an honor that people liken my work to that of Oprah Winfrey". She Leads Africa. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  14. ^ "6 Years After ITS Launch, Mo Abudu Announces a Big Change Coming for the Ebonylife Empire".
  15. ^ "Meet the hosts of Moments". DStv. 26 June 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  16. ^ "Nigerian woman launches tv network".
  17. ^ Cohan, Michelle; Gbadamosi, Nosmot (29 March 2017). "The Nigerian Media mogul with a global empire". CNN. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  18. ^ "Mo Abudu's EbonyLife TV launches subscription video-on-demand African content platform for Africans in the Diaspora". African Business Central. 3 June 2015.
  19. ^ Hawkes, Rebecca (2 July 2018). "Ebony Life expands reach with StarTimes". RapidTV News.
  20. ^ "Mo Abudu: Woman of many firsts". The Journalist. 30 July 2019.
  21. ^ a b "'The Wedding Party' rakes in over N400m in ticket sales". Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  22. ^ a b Ebirim, Juliet (23 September 2020). "Mo Abudu tackles human trafficking with Òlòtūré". Vanguard News. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  23. ^ "EbonyLife Films set to premiere new movie 'Òlòtūré'". PM News. 29 May 2019.
  24. ^ Giles, Chris. "Nollywood, Sony Pictures join forces for TV series on all-female African army". CNN. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  25. ^ "quote of the day by mo abudu". lionesses of africa. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  26. ^ Okechukwu, Daniel (17 January 2020). "MO ABUDU'S EBONYLIFE IS DEVELOPING AN AFRO-FUTURISTIC CRIME-DRAMA FOR AMC NETWORKS". Culture Custodian.
  27. ^ "Launch Pad Alum Ahmadu Garba Sells New Series to AMC!". The Tracking Board. 17 January 2020.
  28. ^ Okechukwu, Daniel (10 February 2020). "EBONYLIFE'S LEGAL DRAMA 'CASTLE & CASTLE' IS COMING TO NETFLIX". Culture Custodian.
  29. ^ Salaudeen, Aisha. "Netflix partners with Nigerian filmmaker in new major deal". CNN. Retrieved 12 June 2020.
  30. ^ Akinwale, Funsho (14 December 2019). "Mo Abudu returns with Ebony Life Place". The Guardian.
  31. ^ "Media mogul, Mo Abudu, unveils multibillion naira Ebonylife place". The Sun. 14 December 2019.
  32. ^ "EBONY LIFE". HOLLY WOOD REPORTER. 4 February 2021.
  33. ^ "ebony life". The Guardian. 17 February 2021.
  34. ^ Aisha Salaudeen. "Netflix partners with Nigerian filmmaker in new major deal". CNN. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  35. ^ Faul, Michelle (2 July 2013). "'Africa's Oprah' Mo Abudu launches TV network in Nigeria". Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  36. ^ Victor, Enengedi (10 June 2013). "ET Exclusive: Mo' Abudu launches N2bn TV channel". Nigerian Entertainment. Net newspapers. p. 1. Archived from the original on 19 April 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  37. ^ "Grand launch for Mo-ments with Mo". 31 October 2007. Retrieved 31 October 2007.
  38. ^ "Mosunmola Abudu, la Oprah Winfrey nigériane | Slate Afrique". Slate Afrique (in French). Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  39. ^ "The Debaters... new on screen". 23 July 2009.[permanent dead link]
  40. ^ "Mo Abudu Africa's queen of talk - Forbes Africa". Forbes Africa. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  41. ^ [1] Archived 23 August 2013 at The Guardian (Nigeria)
  42. ^ "Mosunmola Abudu - MIPCOM: The 25 Most Powerful Women in Global TV". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  43. ^ "International Women's Day: Mo Abudu wins Entrepreneur of the Year - The Nation Nigeria". The Nation Nigeria. 11 March 2014. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  44. ^ Oludimu, Titilola (10 July 2018). "Here are 28 tech entrepreneurs that made the presidential advisory group". TechPoint Africa.
  45. ^ "Mo Abudu elected Director of International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences". Bella Naija. 21 December 2018.
  46. ^ "Mo Abudu elected Director of International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences". Allure Vanguard. 21 December 2018.
  47. ^ "Mo Abudu Becomes First African to Chair 47th International Emmy Awards Gala". This Day. 27 November 2019.
  48. ^ "Mo Abudu becomes first African to chair Emmy awards gala". Premium Times. 28 November 2019.
  49. ^ "Nigerian media mogul Mo Abudu receives 2019 Médailles d'Honneur at MIPTV - Screen Africa". 9 April 2019. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  50. ^ Mills, Kelly-Ann (25 October 2019). "Raheem Sterling joins Meghan and Stormzy in top 100 most influential black Brits". mirror. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  51. ^ 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.
  52. ^ 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.

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