Sierra Leonean CNN Veteran Anchor Isha Sesay Named CEO of OkayMedia

Isha Sesay, who spent 13 years at CNN International as an anchor and reporter, is the new CEO of OkayMedia, a media company dedicated to Black culture and uplifting Black voices.

Sesay has also been appointed to the OkayMedia board of directors, which includes Sam Hendel, co-founder of Dataminr, and Shawn Gee, president of Live Nation Urban and manager of The Roots.

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As CEO of New York-based OkayMedia, Sesay will oversee the company’s verticals: Okayplayer, the progressive music site founded by The Roots frontman Amir “Questlove” Thompson in 1999, and OkayAfrica, dedicated to African culture, music and politics. In addition, she has been named co-founder and CEO of OkayMedia’s new production arm, SPKN/WRD, which will “bring seldom-heard global voices and fresh perspectives to the forefront” across feature films, documentaries, TV, podcasting and publishing, the company announced.

Hendel said in announcing Sesay’s appointment, “Isha’s leadership throughout her career in shining a light on the most critical and underreported stories from across the globe – from the pandemic outbreak in Africa to her work as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador combatting the ongoing violence against women and girls, perfectly aligns with our mission to tell stories that move a global culture forward, and we couldn’t be more excited to have her joining our company.”

The company’s previous CEO, Abiola Oke, resigned last year amid allegations by several women of inappropriate conduct, Questlove announced on Instagram.

Sesay, a Briton of Sierra Leonean parentage, joined CNN in 2005 and departed the news network in 2018. At CNN, Sesay led the team that covered the 2014 kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls in northeastern Nigeria, for which she won a Gracie Award for her coverage of the story and was part of the team recognized with a Peabody Award for excellence in reporting. In 2018, she published “Beneath the Tamarind Tree,” the first definitive account of the mass abduction of the Nigerian schoolgirls.

Sesay is currently the founder and president of W.E. (Women Everywhere) Can Lead, a non-profit organization working in her native country of Sierra Leone, to nurture and empower teenage girls to become Africa’s next generation of dynamic female leaders.

Regarding her new role with OkayMedia, Sesay commented, “This is an exciting company that has long done great work that I have admired. I can’t wait to bring to life all my ideas to expand our content offerings and ways to expose this fantastic brand to even more people in Africa and beyond.”

Prior to CNN, Sesay worked at ITV, anchoring the U.K. broadcaster’s early morning news program and news reports for morning show “GMTV.” Earlier, she was with Sky Sports and presented a wide range of programs across the BBC networks. She holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in English from Trinity College, Cambridge University.

Sesay comes on board after Okayplayer last month launched a mental-health and wellness initiative called “Passage: The Practice of Healing,” which included an eight-track EP of guided meditations produced by MMYYKK with original guided meditations voiced by creatives such as hip hop artist Big K.R.I.T., Kwasi Kessie, Deja Joelle and Kenji Summers; a short-film visualizer edited by Andrew Morrow (Beyonce’s “Black Is King”); a live, guided meditation event series with FotografiskaNYC; and an “In Conversation” fireside chat about Black healing with Grammy-nominated rapper Vic Mensa.

Source: variety

Sallu Kamuskay

Sallu Kamuskay is a Sierra Leonean activist, storyteller, and blogger. He was born in Sierra Leone but later relocated to Guinea as a refugee because of the war in his country. Sallu Kamuskay uses his phone to engage on social media, under the name ‘’Salone Messenger’. He Co-Founded the Salone Messenger platform after his experience of the war, Ebola, and injustices. According to him, silence was the root cause of war, and of many social injustices, we continue to face as a nation. In 2013, during the Ebola crisis, Sallu Kamuskay took the risk and volunteered to fight Ebola. He spent some months in both safe and unsafe places; helping the victims and telling their sad stories. The election in 2018, left a divided country with communities fighting on tribal lines. This inspired Sallu Kamuskay to serve as the coordinator of the United Sierra Leone peace concert, which was organized in 4 major parts of the country, targeting violent communities and troubled youth. Sallu Kamuskay led a group of entertainers, activists, and organizations across the country on a peace tour, a program supported by the European Union, United Sierra Leone, Africa Union, ECOWAS, and the Messeh Leone Trust. Sallu Kamuakay has also served as a staff writer for the Hidden Voices Magazine. Over the years, Sallu Kamuskay has been using his Techno phone to be able to tell stories, the phone he used to tell the story of Gbessay during Ebola who was admitted at one of the Ebola treatment centers after rumors that she had Ebola when the actual sickness was ulcer, she was almost abandoned at the treatment canter with no medication provided to her. She could have died. Sallu told the story via social media and was able to secure funding from the United Sierra Leone to buy her medication and advocated for her. She was later discharged and taken home, He did the same to a patient that died and was abandoned in the street, Sallu Kamuskay used his phone and shared the message across, the corps was later taken and buried. It could have been more disaster without his voice. The story of late America Stress 3-year-old daughter. The hero’s daughter was abandon after his father's death. He shared her sad story and was able to get a sister who has taken the child as her own and is currently providing her with educational support. The article of America Stress can be read on the link below Sallu Kamuskay feels the stories of Gbessay, America stress and that of many others need to be told. The media house we have cannot better tell these stories, they are better reporters than telling human interest stories. He created the Salone Messenger platform and brought together passionate storytellers to be able to tell these compelling stories.

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