Building Community with Motolani Ogunsanya of the Mo Sybil Show
Aug 15, 2019 · 26 min
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What is the Mo Sybil Show?

The More Sibyl Podcast show is a platform born out of a place of growth and struggle for Blacks and Asians, and those who care about and love them. Mo looks at cultural issues that are important to Blacks and Asians including acculturation problems, travels, preserving cultural values, the relationships between African Americans and West Africans, developing resilience, using emotional support, mental health issues, surviving graduate school, and so much more! As a Nigerian born-US educated-Korean speaking-struggling intellectual, the podcast is an homage to the different struggles and growing pains and success stories that Mo has encountered since she came to America eight years ago.

Building Community

Mo’s goal is to build community and make the world a smaller place, and the response from the African and Korean communities to Mo’s podcast has been great. She is often asked why she cares so much about Korea. She’s Nigerian! Why does she care about Korea?

Korea is a second culture for Mo. She speaks the language, and she has very close friends in Korea. She sees a lot of connections and commonalities between African and Asian cultures, and she wanted to incorporate that into her show. Both cultures value family, respect their elders, have amazing food, and are very modest. There are so many similarities between the two cultures. Once people see that, they understand why she has grouped the two components together in her podcast.

The More Sibyl Podcast show is about Black and Asian people and their stories. Her listeners feel less alone in their own problems hearing that someone else with a name and a story like theirs has gone through the same thing. That’s how Mo speaks to her communities, and that’s why they continue to support her and praise her for driving connections in the community.

Addressing Tough Issues for the Black and Asian Communities

As a Nigerian immigrant, Mo addresses common topics like mental health, loss of pregnancy, infertility and caring for elders in a way that Black and Asians can relate to. By discussing difficult topics in a genuine way, and by showing her own vulnerability with those topics, her listeners feel less uncomfortable sharing and exploring their own problems. Where she comes from, it was taboo to talk about those topics, but she’s doing it now and showing other Blacks and Asians that talking about these important issues can really help.

Mo’s ability to share her own stories has made her a trusted figure in the public space. Her listeners open up and share their stories with her. She doesn’t take it for granted, and when she shares their stories with the world, she does it in a gentle, respectful way.

So why a Podcast?

When Mo grew up in Nigeria in the 80s, televisions were a luxury most families couldn’t afford. Her family could afford a transistor radio, and that radio became Mo’s life. As a visual learner, she loved to hear the voices and imagine what the people looked like. It was a spiritual experience for her.

When she came to America, radio had a different feel for her. It wasn’t like her childhood experience. It was full of ads and distractions, and in 2011, Mo discovered Podcasts. Four years later, she wanted a medium to progress beyond her blog, and the natural progression for an ex-radio lover was a podcast. She has the support of family and friends, and she started! Fast forward to today.

How to Build a Community? 

In order to build your own community, Mo advises podcasters to “be consistent and be genuine.” If you say you’re going to be a weekly podcast, do it weekly. Be genuine and focus on your tribe. Take a pulse of your community to make sure you’re creating content they want to hear. When you are in the public space,...

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