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Photo courtesy of EbonyLife Media.

EbonyLife CEO Mo Abudu Is the First African To Be Awarded the Cannes Médailles d’Honneur

The Nigerian media mogul recently received the 2019 Médailles d'Honneur for making significant strides in the global television industry.

Nigeria's own Mo Abudu was awarded the 2019 Médailles d'Honneur at Cannes Monday—making her the first African (and Nigerian) to receive such accolades.

The Médailles d'Honneur—or the Medal of Honor—is presented to senior executives who have made a mark in the global television industry, as well as contribute to the development of the international television community.


Abudu, CEO of EbonyLife Media, is deserving of such an award as she's considered to be one of the most prolific producers on the continent. EbonyLife TV—Africa's first global black entertainment and lifestyle network—has been producing a wide array of original programs since she founded the platform in 2013 and has since expanded to four other divisions: EbonyLife Films, EbonyLife ON, EbonyLife Studios and EbonyLife Productions Limited.

Photo courtesy of EbonyLife Media.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank MIPTV for this incredible award. My big dream was and still is, to change the narrative about my continent," Abudu says accepting the award.

"As a continent, Africa has remained creatively silent for centuries. Our stories seldom told outside of our families and villages and often from the perspective of 'someone' looking in. It is therefore with great pride that we, at EbonyLife Media, bring our stories to the world with our TV series and our films."

Abudu received the 2019 Médailles d'Honneur alongside Ilene Chaiken, U.S. writer, showrunner and producer, Stéphane Courbit, chairperson of the Banijay Group in France and Jane Millichip, UK managing director of Sky Vision.

It was announced in March 2018 that Abudu locked in a three scripted television series deal with Sony. One of the anticipated shows is an action-drama based on the Dahomey Amazon Warriors—the strong women soldiers who served for over 200 years in present-day Benin. Revisit the developments of the deal here.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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