Biola Alabi’s dream for an American career such as being a lawyer, doctor or engineer died in Ohio when she visited a family friend for dinner. Despite being just a child then, she made up her mind to return to Nigeria and change the African narrative and stereotype in the west.
Today, Alabi is revolutionizing the African film and broadcasting industry. Her focus is on the content produced locally. She is the brain behind the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards, the “African Oscars,” some indigenous languages, and seven channels of Africa Magic.
Alabi’s perspective of the world had been honed after living in Cincinnati and Seoul in South Korea. She dropped her dream of becoming a doctor for a media role because she realized that was the tool she could use to transform her mother country, Nigeria, and Africa as a whole.
According to the 45 year-old mogul, monthly periods are spoken about more than issues around health and women. Women have been left to learn things on their own through experience.
After her graduation, Alabi worked on “Sesame Street,” a classic TV show for children. She worked on a project, which was her first, that aimed at helping parents discuss the 9/11 attacks with their children. She got to explore Africa while engaging in international projects run by Sesame Street.
Alabi’s desire to work on the African continent grew while she worked on projects in Africa. She specifically points out a time in Tanzania when the way locals engaged with their content, despite being in a foreign language, inspired her to follow her new-found dream.
Alabi relocated to Lagos, Nigeria in 2008. She found out the continent lacked a Sesame Street version specific to the continent. While working for M-Net Africa, she launched the African Oscars with an aim of telling distinct local stories. To help her connect storytellers with distribution and funding, she began the Biola Alabi Media for consultancy purposes.
Alabi has challenged the stereotypes in Nollywood, the film industry in Nigeria. She has been telling stories like never before. She produces films that appeal to locals in Nigeria, Africa and the entire world. A good example is the “Lara and the Beat,” a film about two sisters with financial troubles who get to rebuild their lives from nothing.
Alabi also plans to develop a nuanced and diverse positive role models for African females. Additionally, she intends to produce a series that discusses health issues and women issues, everything the society never talks about. The mogul intends to complement the series with books, to share with parents.
Having been born and raised outside Nigeria, she developed critics of her works, with some stating that her movies are influenced with western ideas, and thus not truly local. Her works have drawn attention both locally and internationally. As a result, she was listed in the top 100 Female Executives 2018 list on Financial Times. She also appeared in the 2012 Forbes top 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa.
Alabi has also taken part in “Big Brother Africa,” a reality show. In 2010 she began the “Face of Africa” in Lagos, Nigeria. Her number 1 food show dubbed “Bukas and Joints” is broadcast on channels in both Africa and the U.S.
With Nigerian being home to over 10.5 million children who are out of school, Alabi is determined to use technology to ensure that more children have access to education. She’s using media, specifically series, internet content accessible from mobile phones, movies and TV shows to give young Africans free access to informational and educational content.
Alabi is confident and takes time to respond to interview questions. She’s Nigeria’s, media renaissance face and loves both books and travel. She has a good sense of fashion and knows how to live a balanced life. Her “Grooming for Greatness” program is purposed to redefine Africa’s leaders in the next generation.
In her own words, she is strong, ambitious and driven to achieve her goals and dreams. And, with everyone’s efforts, she believes there can be a great impact on the African entertainment industry.