New digital lifestyle talk show aimed at Caribbean Diaspora
April 21, 2017
Just being a pretty face on television is not what Nneka Elliott aspired to when she opted to pursue a media career.
For the second time in six years, the award-winning broadcaster has left CP24 to start her own business.
A news & weather anchor for three years, Elliott launched The Media Huddle in May 2011 which was a media networking and mentorship company that lasted two years.
“Back then, I felt as if I was a jack of all trades and master of none,” said the 2015 Harry Jerome Award winner. “I was feeling kind of confused and I didn’t really know that I wanted to do. I, however, always knew I wanted to give back and do mentorship.”
Last September, Elliott – a reporter/anchor since January 2013 – quit CP24 News to seek growth and an opportunity to rediscover her voice.
“This time around, I wanted to take my name back,” said Elliott who was born in Quebec to mas’ band designer Walter Elliott and Jacinta Elliott who are Black Theatre Workshop (Canada’s oldest extant Black professional theatre company started in 1971) founding members. “Essentially, I wasn’t happy with my situation at CP24 and I am not one to sit around and complain. If I want to see things happening in my life, I make things happen. That’s how I operate. I needed to have a brand and that’s what drove my decision. When I think about what the future would look like for me there, the trajectory that I was on was a destination that I didn’t want to go to. I didn’t want to be a chief news anchor or a national news reporter. I wanted to host and what I was doing didn’t support that.”
Earlier this month, she launched a digital lifestyle talk show for the Caribbean Diaspora.
“I have always had this cultural duality in the sense that I am very much Canadian, but I am also a Caribbean woman,” said Elliott who spent her childhood in St. Vincent & the Grenadines before returning to Canada in 2002 to pursue post-secondary studies at Ryerson University. “I know what it means to ‘chip down the road’, but I go camping and house boating. When I am in the Caribbean, I am home, but ‘ah come from foreign’ so it’s a different experience.”
With more than half a million people of Caribbean descent residing in Canada, Elliott recognized an opportunity to showcase her and their incredible culture through her unique lens.
“I wanted to create a show that people who live at that same intersection that I do could relate to,” she said. “It’s a chance for them to reconnect with their roots in a modern way. I feel as if a lot of the Caribbean-focussed content is great, but it sometimes stems from a tourist viewpoint as in you are sharing this and it is for other people to know about where you come from. But there is such a huge number of people who live outside of the region who travel. I wanted to do something that felt like I was speaking to these folks specifically and it wasn’t just necessarily about the parties and so forth. I want it to be more lifestyle like Caribbean fashion, real estate, food and things like that. I watch a lot of TV shows and I don’t see myself reflected in them.”
Guests don’t have to be of Caribbean descent to be eligible to appear on Elliott’s YouTube channel.
“You have to be sharing something that is of value to people in the Caribbean,” she pointed out. “Let’s say you are talking about health or specific kinds of super foods that you should be introducing to your diet, then – as a dietician – you can talk about that. As a nutritionist, however, you would talk about the plants that are naturally occurring in the Caribbean that you could take advantage of. The show is divided into a show-and-tell and interview segments. I am going to be talking to people who have an area of expertise to share and high-profile guests who are of Caribbean descent doing a project relating to the Caribbean.”
Elliott, who plans to take the show on the road to Caribbean islands, also started a lifestyle blog a few months ago.
“This blog takes me back to the core of who I am,” she said. “It’s a way for me to do some introspection and share my ups and downs and how I sometimes feel life if I don’t have an identity since leaving what I knew for so long. It was very personal, but now it’s going to transition to be a complement to the show.”
At a very young age, Elliott relished communicating and telling stories.
She pretended she was a radio talk show host by using a recorder to tape shows and won a Lions Club public speaking competition for high school students in 1999.
“I had a vivid imagination as a child and I also read a lot of books,” Elliott added. “I always wanted to know why and how things work. My grandfather was GCH Thomas who authored a novel, ‘Ruler in Hiroona’ and played the violin. I always wanted to be like him.”
Graduating with a degree in radio & television arts, Elliott worked as a broadcaster with the Weather Network for 21 months before joining CP24 in May 2008.
She hasn’t ruled out returning to the speciality cable and satellite TV channel or a national television network.
“I can see myself going back, but not doing news,” said Elliott. “I keep saying that I want to be a screen queen. Since leaving CP24, I have been exploring acting opportunities as a reporter in ‘Designated Survivor’ and ‘Ransom’, and a news anchor in ‘Conviction’…Wherever my audience is, that is where I will be.”