By Pormasu Tamkorfai…..
Sierra Leone is greatly being blessed with various media icons like Umaru Fofanah, Hassan Aarouni, Hilton Fye, Isatu Sesay and the like and has accumulated enough respect abroad in the audio-visual journalistic environment.
One of these contemporary media professionals promotting Sierra Leone in the diaspora is a Kono sister called Elizabeth Yiaba, aka Yaba, Sia-Sia. She is the Executive Director/CEO, host and founding member of the Yaba TV /Yaba Radio Show in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
The Yaba TV & Yaba Radio Show are “a multi-cultural entity celebrating 29 years of the Yaba TV Show. They are currently airing on Stevie Wonder’s well known radio station at KJLH Radio 102.3 FM every Sunday at 6pm live!”
Communicating with the VOB, Elizabeth Yiaba outlined that they do “promote Africans and African Americans and showcase international gospel music in their current Radio Shows.
Since the establishment of the Yaba TV Show on the 25th of December, 1992 in Los Angeles Southern Californai, “the host, Elizabeth Yiaba who is commonly known as Sia-Sia and Yaba, has interviewed many reputable personalities like Councilman Bernard Parks and the former late President of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings.”
When President Rawlings visited Los Angeles in November 1995 Yaba TV did cover his tour. At that time, the late superstar Michael Jackson, the late Isaac Hayes, legendary Stevie Wonder and a host of other celebrities came to honor the then Ghanaian President.
“A clip of these interviews of some influential people can assessed on the Yaba TV website at: www.yabamedia.com.
Some other VIP’s being interviewed included the late President of Sierra Leone, Alhadji Tejan Kabba, the former First Lady of Nigeria, Turai Omaru YarAdua, the former First Lady of Sierra Leone, Sia Nyama Koroma, the former Los Angeles County Supervisor, Yvonne Braithwait Burke, the former Congresswoman Diane Watson, the former Chief of Police, Willie Williams, the late Mr. Larry Grant, Rev. Dr. Lawrence Lasisi, Pastor Dr. Niran Fafowora, singer Shabba Ranks, T.C. Carson, and many more.
Yaba TV has traveled to places like Ghana, Liberia, South Africa, and Nigeria, where they filmed and produced shows on African cultures and lifestyles.
In intoducing herself, the Yaba TV/ Yaba Radio Executive Director/CEO explained: “I am from the Kono tribe of Sierra Leone, West Africa. Although I have been residing in California for 35 years, Ohio was my introduction to the U.S. I came to the United States of America through the sponsorship of James H. Meredith.
“With the protection of US Marshalls, he was the first black man to attend a non-black school in the state of Mississippi at the University of Mississippi. His wife, Judy, was a newscaster in Cincinnati, Ohio and would take me to work with her. That exposed me to media business firsthand, she pointed out.
“Six months later, I moved to Los Angeles and got connected with Continental Cablevision. At the time, this was the 3rd largest cable company in Los Angeles. They hired me to do an African show and asked me to give it a name, so I gave it a Kono name, the “Chesima Series”. Chesima means “this kind of a show will reveal the truth”, the truth about Africa.
“Back then, Chesima Series aired at 8pm on Fridays in South Los Angeles and the Show went on excellently”, she explained.
The Continental Cablevision trained herfor two years and she also worked as the Executive Producer of the Chesima Series while producing and hosting the Show. She later changed the name from the Chesima Series to simply Yaba TV and registered her own media business.
“Even with all that I had accomplished, I did explore other fields. My immediate circle of friends were nurses, so I enrolled at Long Beach City College to be an LVN. Six months into the courses, I changed my mind and decided to take the path of becoming a Drug and Alcohol Counselor. I graduated. I also attended Berkeley College for English”, Elizabeth reinterated.
On her family status, Elizabeth told the VOB that she is “a single woman with two beautiful daughters who have made her very proud. One is a graduate of Howard University and the other a graduate of California State University at Long Beach.
Yaba TV’s goal is “to connect Africans and African-Americans by understanding and integrating the cultures. Although there are many differences between both cultures, Yaba TV brings the core understandings of Africa’s culture to meet the African-American culture and help bridge the cultural gap”.
“Through watching interviews, music videos and visits, African children born in America can learn about Africa and African-Americans can learn about the African cultures. The Yaba TV Show highlights African life, culture, art, traditions, family values, morals, beliefs, investment opportunities, businesses, and special events plus exclusive grassroots footage. It is our hope that African-American viewers can now begin to cultivate their ancestral roots as we present the many countries of Africa. Our long-term goal is to own a cultural resource center in the U.S and Africa for our communities to share our authentic African culture”, she optimistically outlined.
She further explained that “their resources are also being aimed at small businesses and their economic advancement. Business owners who they connect with do usually appear as guests on the Show to discuss how they serve their communities through their businesses.”
To get more of the Yaba TV, “one can freely subscribe to the brand new Youtube Channel. It is free to subscribe, just click the link below and click subscribe. You will find some previous Shows I have done”, Elizabeth Yiaba aka Yaba, Sia-Sia concluded.