Juliana is a journalist of Nigerian descent, now living in the UK, who hosts Yanga’s highest-rated show, the no-holds-barred female discussion programme Noni, which airs on the channel from Monday to Friday at 9.30am on Sky Channel 453. Juliana is also a brand ambassador for the network and appears on the current affairs discussion programme Journalists’ Hangout.
Famed for her friendly yet firm approach and her ability to handle sensitive topics, her guests feel like they͛re having a cup of coffee with an old friend when Juliana is hosting a show. She sat down with our Ed Afua Adom to tell her about her route into journalism as well as what beauty means to her:
Tell me about your route into journalism?
Well, where do I start? I always enjoyed writing from a very young age. When I was in primary school I would write short stories for my teachers and in secondary school, English was my favourite subject. Whatever extreme emotion I was feeling I would express it in words. So much so that my work was published when I was 11. As I grew and studied I realized that my urge to entertain, inform and educate my audience could actually be a career. Journalism. I started out writing a beauty column in a local newspaper when I was at college. While at university I was approached by a production company to become an investigative journalist for Channel 4. That opportunity was life changing. I have subsequently worked for BBC, MTV, Bloomberg, Reuters and now I have found a home at Yanga!
What’s been the most memorable story you’ve reported on?
Wow – there have been a few. My priority has always been and will always be a community and it’s vital that those from the community who have a voice – use it. Last year I spoke to a pastor living in south London who had lost her teenage son to knife crime. He was stabbed in the heart while trying to stop a fight. I always avoid getting too emotionally involved in a story but this one was too much. Her son reminded me of so many of the young men I grew up around and speaking to her hit home hard. I consider myself Pan African and over the years I have reported on many stories from across the continent and beyond that have a special place in my heart.
What makes Yanga special?
Yanga! is special because it’s for people like me. People with British accents who have an affinity toward Africa and African programming. Many African channels have paved the way for Yanga! but what makes us stand out is our quality. From the production staff to the studio, to the gallery to our contributors – everyone and everything involved showcases the best of African greatness here in the UK.
Tell me about Noni – why should we watch?
Noni is a daily chat show for women and men who want to talk about issues that directly affect the black community. It can be light-hearted – for instance, if we are talking about social media addiction, interracial relationships and co-habiting. And it can discuss tougher issues like the prosperity gospel, bullying and youth violence. I like to describe Noni as a platform for young black Brits to share their opinion on TV without feeling judged.
How do you deal with balancing a family and a career?
By the grace of God alone. It can be very tough. I am married and have 3 young children. Sometimes 24 hours is just not long enough to fit everything in. Over time I have realized that the best thing to do is not to over think and over worry. Family come first over everything – once the kids are happy, I am more relaxed and therefore more productive at work. I must say that being on TV helps. The kids love to watch Noni and they love seeing me get dressed up for glamorous events.
What does beauty mean to you?
To me, beauty means confidence, elegance, love, style.
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