Rhoda Wilson is one of the most popular presenters on satellite station BEN TV. Her weekly programme features interviews with people and celebrities from all walks of life. She spoke to Keep the Faith about her life, her work, and plans for the future.
KEEP THE FAITH (KTF): The Rhoda Wilson Show is a very popular in the UK and Africa. What inspired you to produce and present your own show?
Rhoda Wilson (RW): The desire to change the perception of people in the UK of the Black community, from negative to positive.
KTF: Who have been some of the most memorable guests who have appeared on the show and why, in your view, are they memorable?
RW: All my guests have been memorable. I am not saying that for any reason other than it’s the truth. I enjoy interviewing guests even more so when I am enlightened by their journey.
KTF: What are the key things you want to convey to viewers via your show, and what kind of feedback do they give you?
RW: I want my viewers to feel they have a ‘can do’ attitude with my show, and that success comes with working towards it. Also that challenges in life do not choose you because of colour, but with the right mindset you will overcome any difficulties. As for feedback; viewers love the inspirational theme, the guests and me (phew!).
KTF: You’ve had quite a journey to get your programme on air, which included funding the production of the programme yourself. What inspired you to go to such lengths to get your show broadcast?
RW: I believe I can make a difference because there is a need in the market, and I have incredible passion and am committed to making this happen.
KTF: What are the major challenges you face as a Black TV presenter, and how does your faith help you meet these challenges?
RW: The UK television executives or television commissioners I have met do not believe in talk shows and, if they do, they want big names like the Piers Morgans or Graham Nortons. It is also difficult for them to pitch a Black TV presenter to advertising agencies or sponsors, who might not want to back such a market. All the same, “God always makes a way when there seems to be no way”. I always hold on to that thought.
KTF: You didn’t originally set out to be a TV presenter. Can you share a bit about your early work history?
RW: I have worked in insurance, commodities (oil, gas, and metal), as well as in the music industry. My last role was a music promoter, which was hard work!
KTF: Do you feel that being a TV presenter was something you were born to do?
RW: I wanted to make a real difference in life, and if being a television presenter gets me there then perhaps this is what I was born to do.
KTF: Can you tell me a little bit about your background, ie. where you were born, how many siblings you had, and what your childhood was like?
RW: I was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and I have in total eighteen siblings, including my stepbrothers and -sisters. We all lived together and they were my best friends, hence you rarely saw any of us with friends. My father was a strict and religious man. We had our own chapel in our compound. We were all expected to be in the chapel at 7.00pm every day for worship, and at 7.00am when we were not at school.
Our compound was very big back in Lagos, so I was always riding my bicycles or, as we had a farm, feeding the chickens or goats, etc. I look back at my childhood and thank God that I had such a privileged life.
KTF: Your mother died when you were young. How has your mother’s death impacted your approach to life?
RW: I was very close to my mother, and even to this day my siblings still tease me that I was a “mummy’s girl”, so losing her affected me severely. However, I am always grateful to God that she was part of my early life, and I owe my success to her because her death spurred me to make something of myself.
KTF: When and why did you become a Christian, and how has faith in God affected your outlook?
RW: I don’t think I had a choice! My parents were Christian, and played big roles in the church community when I was growing up in Lagos, and I was brought up that way. I talk to God throughout the day from morning to night, and even when I am waiting to go into a business meeting. So my faith in God is constant in everything I do.
KTF: Aside from your presenting career, you also run a charity. What have been its major achievements to date?
RW: There have been a few, however I would say the ACWAL (my foundation) event at the School of Oriental and Studies (SOAS), when Wesley M Johnson, ambassador to the UK for Liberia delivered a keynote speech from the president of Liberia, Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The event was to raise the profile of African and Caribbean women in leadership.
KTF: In most people’s minds, you are a successful, professional Christian woman. What other goals do you want to achieve?
RW: To do more of The Rhoda Wilson Shows; speak more at youth and women’s events; be on the board of an Advertising Agency so as to educate them about the Black community, and to transfer that education into success of monetary value and improve lives.
KTF: What should we expect from you for the rest of 2012?
RW:/ The Rhoda Wilson Show is sponsoring 5-minute online clips of SMEs this year, exclusive interviews, and more series of The Rhoda Wilson Show.
KTF: What advice do you have for anyone who has a dream or goal which seems difficult to achieve due to seemingly insurmountable obstacles?
RW: Your life is shaped by your thoughts, hence you must be careful what you allow into your mind. I remembered going to a number of the terrestrial TV stations many years ago when I started my show, and I was told there was no market for such show. Six years later, my show is still going and growing. Therefore, you must have self-belief and talk to someone you respect. In any situation, remain prayerful and ask for guidance and support because I assure you, it will come.
KTF: And what message of hope would you like to leave with Keep The Faith readers?
Put God in all areas of your life – from business, relationships, to career and family, so that you can start experiencing His grace and above all, His love.