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Reading: Sierra Leonean CNN Veteran Anchor Isha Sesay Named CEO of OkayMedia
Reading: Sierra Leonean CNN Veteran Anchor Isha Sesay Named CEO of OkayMedia

Sierra Leonean CNN Veteran Anchor Isha Sesay Named CEO of OkayMedia

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Sallu Kamuskay
By Sallu Kamuskay 304 Views 4 Min Read
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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.

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

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Sallu Kamuskay is a Sierra Leonean communication strategist, fixer, blogger, youth organiser, event manager, spokesperson, and public relations expert. His work has been regularly referenced and published by national and international media and public policy institutions. Sallu Kamuskay was a child during the brutal war in Sierra Leone. Growing up in the midst of conflict, Sallu witnessed unimaginable abuse of children and gross violations of human rights. The horrors he witnessed during the Civil War had a terrible impact on him at a very tender age. But despite the shock of the war, Sallu never lost hope. He started on a journey of recovery, studying, and working for a better future. At age 15, Sallu entered into the world of activism and advocacy. Sallu Kamuskay was the Vice President of the Young Leaders Organisation, a member of the National Youth Council. The Young Leaders is one of the oldest youth-led organisations in West Africa. The organisation was formed by a group of young leaders, and launched by the then Head of State/President of Sierra Leone. Sallu was part of the group of young leaders who participated in and contributed to the establishment of the National Youth Council. The Commonwealth supported the training for trainers programme with line ministries and youth stakeholders in which key, representatives of youth council, student union and civil society/private sector youth platforms were engaged and empowered in the effective engagement and inclusion of youth. Sallu is co-founder and Executive Director of the Salone Messenger, a global multimedia and public relations firm based In Sierra Leone. Sallu has worked on various developmental and policy issues such as Poverty, Climate Change, Human rights, Child Rights, Education, Health, Gender Equality, Civic Engagement, Government policies, Information Communication Technology for Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, and has also been contributing to various global events and advocacy campaigns. Sallu Kamuskay is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Salone Messenger, a global Multimedia and Public Relations Firm based in Sierra Leone with the latest news and information, on top stories, business, politics, entertainment, and more. Sallu is working with a leading technology company in Africa, Techfrica, that has recently developed and launched a social media, messaging Supfrica with over 150,000 downloads on the Google play store in less than 4 days. He is the Adviser and Media coordinator for the App to give people the platform to connect and communicate to help shape their future with a very fast internet that allows users that live in deprived and hard-to-reach areas with poor internet facility to be able to communicate as it allows and stronger on 2 and 3 G network reception. Sallu has over 9 years of experience in youth engagement, inclusion, and coordination both at local and global levels, giving voice to young people and engaging young people to build a better world. He has served as coordinator for the Wave Alliance which brought together youth-led organisations who attended an international training in South Africa organized by the International Organization – Waves for Change. Sallu is working with the MLT, Waves For Change, and the Government to develop safe spaces for young people, with a view to contributing to the overall development goals of young people including health, as well as to community rebuilding. Sallu is currently the Programme Director for the Wave Alliance, which is a coalition of youth-led and community-based organisations that have successfully introduced evidence-based Surf Therapy programs to young people in communities, with a focus on mental health, peace building and sustainable development. Sallu is currently the focal point and face of Africa’s Faces Social media platform which is a global Social media platform that brings together people from across the world to share their moments, connect, share videos, and interact with friends giving more preference to excluded continents like Africa. Sallu Kamuskay has devoted his time to working for or contributing to a number of national and international organizations and companies, including the Techfrica Technology Company, United Nations, ECOWAS, European Union, Commonwealth Africa Initiatives. This work has led him to travel to a number of countries to contribute to global youth platforms. Sallu is the lead Coordinator for Peace Tour programme, an initiative supported by the European Union, Africa Union, ECOWAS focusing on uniting and empowering young people and local communities. 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 http://ayvnewspaper.com/index.php/k2-categories/item/7350-america-stress-a-hero-to-recognize. 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.