By Tunrayo Mutairu
I met Emmanuel in my undergraduate days at the university. We were both two youngins hungry to make a mark. He was in the early stages of building his “oyamag”; a entertainment and lifestyle website. He was also one of my early employers. I remember vividly when I got my first job with him. I was to interview comedian; Omobaba. He literally just threw me in the game; such was the confidence he had in me. Thankfully I didn’t screw it up.
Emmanuel has gone on to graduate from the university, working an 8-5 and recently starting his own award platform in 2015. This interview was to catch with him on what he has been up to lately and how far that genius brain of his has gone. I hope you enjoy this smashing interview with this week’s “Under 30 and Killing It”.
1) TD- Tell me about yourself.
Emmanuel – My name is Olabode Emmanuel Olawumi; I am a graduate of Dramatic Arts from the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife. I am an ambitious young man who hopes to leave an indelible mark in the sands of time.
2) TD- What do you do?
Emmanuel- I am a writer, an actor, and a media entrepreneur. I am passionate about the media and entertainment industry. I am the founder and creative director of OYA MAGAZINE and OYA AWARDS. Our dream at OYA is to become a leading global media brand that inspires and celebrates African youth through contemporary undertakings and platforms.
3) TD- why did you start oyamag?
Emmanuel- Well, I would say, we have left where we used to be and we are working hard to bring our dreams to life. The journey for us is yet to start. We are still learning, creating networks and understanding the nitty-gritty of the business.
4) TD- tell me about your award show; Oya Awards.
Emmanuel- OYA AWARDS started as a student’s award in OAU in July 2015 as a platform to celebrate young people making impact in their community. Last year, the second edition held in Lagos. This time it was broader and bigger. We spread our tentacles to cover a bigger and national demography. The 2016 edition had winners like, Mazi Ukonu of Recycle Points; fashion designer and entrepreneur, Ejiro Amos Tafiri, music star, Falz; Actor, O.C Ukeje; My Streetz Magazine, the most consistent music magazine in Nigeria; among others. We had Co-Founder of Red Media Africa, Debola Williams as the key note speaker. His message hit the right nerves in the hearts of everyone who listened to him. We had media support from big brands like Ynaija, Olorisupergal, Vanguard, GoldmyneTV, The NET NG, Penzaarville Africa, Smiley Events Africa, The Media Guide NG, Olodo Nation, to mention a few. We also got sponsorship from Suss Productions and Blinks Studios. It was our first event in Lagos. I commend my team for taking that bold step and we intend to leverage on it for this year. We also hope to have more sponsors on board this time. Our dream is to make OYA AWARDS the biggest platform that celebrates outstanding young achievers in Africa.
5) TD- what kind of content does your platform seeks to deliver?
Emmanuel- Simply put, we deliver content that informs, entertain and educates the audience.
6) TD- what challenges have you faced in your work?
Emmanuel- Major challenge is getting funds. Another is high cost of running the brand, considering the economic situation in the country. However, we see these things as factors that challenge us to solve problems and think outside the box. We are pushed to be more creative, to evolve and to add value. The essence of business is adding value. The reason people trust you with their money is because you add value. Having a great team is one of the challenges young brands face, but I have been blessed with the best people since we started this brand.
7) TD- do you have an 8-5 job?
Emmanuel- I work with a brand called Suss Productions as the Digital Media Strategist. Suss Productions is a content creation company and they also offer pre-production, production and post production services. I also act as the Production Assistant on one of their shows; The Sauce.
8) TD- what do you think about the youth of our time?
Emmanuel- We are hungry for success and we go to any length to achieve our dreams. We are go-getters. We are resilient and dogged. Despite the current woes of this nation, we wake up every day to make the world we live in a better place.
9) TD- do you subscribe to the school that feel been an employee is not a glamorous thing anymore? What is your opinion about traditional employer and employee relationship using our time as a case study?
Emmanuel- If all of us become employers, who will be the employees? We all have different calling, strengths and dreams. Some of us are called to be writers, others are actors. Some are born to be directors; others choose the path to be a cinematographer. While one person handles make-up, the other person provides costume. There is a Gaffer (light man) and we have the sound engineer. There is the producer, the marketer and the distributor. All are working towards one goal; to make a blockbuster movie. You have to #RunYourRace.
About traditional employer and employee relationship, all I will say is that it boils down to personality. We have the good boss and the bad boss. We also have the horrible employee and the amazing one.
10) TD- who inspire you in the area of your focus?
Emmanuel- Tajudeen Adepetu (SOUNDCITY), Chude Jideonwo and Debola Williams of RED MEDIA, Mo’Abudu (EBONY LIFE); THE NET NG’s; Ayeni Adekunle and others have achieved unprecedented heights in this industry. I hope to take it further from where they stopped.
The aforementioned individuals and more people like Mofolusade Sonaike of Mumpreneur NG, Jire Kuforiji (Veteran Broad Caster), Sola Obagbemi (RED MEIDA), Shayo Oke-Sobo (Suss Productions), Abiola Orimolade (Black & Bold Magazine), Sesan Adeniji (MY STREETZ MAGAZINE), Jasanya Olamide (The PRholic), to mention a few. It is a long list. I am inspired by successful people.
11) TD- kindly tell me your opinion on the role of mentors in the development of a young person.
Emmanuel- Mentors are your guide; they make life easy for you. People say experience is the best teacher. What they fail to mention is that the experience of others is a great teacher. You don’t have to experience it. You can learn from your predecessors. Mentors don’t let you make the same mistake they made. They also help you connect with the right network.
12) TD- what is your 5 year plan?
Emmanuel- If you had said dream, I would have told you it is to become the number 1 media brand in Africa. But, since you said plan, I would tell you that is personal for now. You know what they say about not counting your chickens before the hatch?
13) TD- what part of the media are you most uncomfortable with and how do you intend to change the narrative?
Emmanuel- Errm; none that I know of right now. I will only advocate for excellence in all things.
14) TD-what do you do for fun?
Emmanuel- This is a difficult question. I once told my uncle I read books for fun when he asked me the question. He felt I was acting efikoish, but the truth is, my work itself is fun. If I am not online, I am thinking of ideas. Other times, I am on set. Work is fun and fun is work. However, I like surrounding myself with positive, happy and energetic people because I am a restless person and my morale is very high. Notwithstanding, I love my solitude.
15) TD- thank you for doing this with me.
Emmanuel- Thank you Tunrayo. I am in love with your blog already.
You can keep up with Emmanuel by connecting with him via his Instagram account on @olabodeeo.
Check out Motunrayo’s Diaries for more inspiring posts.