Nvasekie N. Konneh , Philadelphia, PA – In post war Liberia, there is a boom in broadcast media with radio stations all over the country from Monrovia to community radio stations in various counties. Among the many radio stations in Monrovia is SKY FM which is managed by the famous Liberian radio personality, Martin Brown.
One of the charming voices of that station that rules the airway belongs to a feisty sassy woman called Shamel Tokie Knott who goes by the alias of “Lady Stable.” Call her black diamond, call her sassy, call her charming and bodacious. You won’t be making any mistake because she is all that but don’t call her “DJ,” because she simply calls herself “broadcaster” even though outside of the radio station her side gigs include MCing for programs such as weddings and beauty pageants.
She has several programs on the radio which include Afro-Dance Music, a mix of Liberian and African music as well as reading news on both the radio and TV. The blunt speaking Lady Stable takes no prisoner once she’s on air. She says it like it is.
She was born March 27, 1986, in Johnsonville, Monrovia, Liberia. Her father, Arnold Knott, being dead for a long time, was a musician. Her mother Lucy Curry Porte is no longer alive as well. Not having both parents alive means she has to hustle on her own to take care of herself and seven siblings. Being the second to the last among them could explain the reason why she is such a tough chick both on and off radio.
She went to schools in Liberia and Ghana where she completed her study in broadcast journalism at the West African College for Sustainable Development. She was on UN scholarship. One of her mentors in those formative years was the late Ghanaian journalist Komla Dumor who according to her she admired for his sharp presentation on Ghanaian radio station before moving on to BBC.
She now says of Mr. Dumor, “That’s why his death really hurts me. He was my mentor.” Just as she looked to Komla Dumor as a mentor, she also looks at the veteran Liberian broadcast journalist Martin Brown as a mentor who she currently works for.
Recently I spoke to her from the SKY FM studio in the heart of Monrovia and asked her several questions. Below are her responses to those questions.
NNK: Where are you now and how far you want to go?
STN: Hahaha, where would I want to be now? I wil like to see myself at the highest peak in this profession. My dream is to see myself broadcasting for international media. As a broadcast journalist, my greatest challenge is compete with the guys in field. At times they tried to intimidate you but you just have to be strong to make them understand you are not a walk-over door mat.
NNK: What’s your love life?
STK: Yes I am in a relationship with Dexter Johnson and things are working out great between he and I.
NNK: What has been the high and low points of your career as a journalist?
STK: As a journalist, I have had many great moments in term of training and experience. I have attended many workshops, training programs as well as travel extensively. It’s been a very wonderful experience for me working on the radio and TV and the fact that I have great audience of people who admire and support my work as a broadcast journalist gives me the sense of obligation to put out my best every day.
NNK: What do you like or don’t like about your job?
STK: I like everything about my job as a broadcast journalist, that’s why I am on my feet every day doing my best. Everyone has a calling and this is mine. I have great love and passion for what I do.
NNK: Where will you like to be 5 years from now?
STK: As I continue to learn and grow as radio and TV presenter, I have very big dream. That is to one day work for CNN, BBC, or VOA. That’s a big dream for me and I am working hard towards that.
NNK: In the past, you have expressed some critical views about the quality of Liberian music. Has your view changed and if so what is your favorite Liberian music now?
STK: I am hundred percent sure and very confident now that our Liberian music has seen some significant improvement and can be counted anywhere. I can now boast and be proud because I dance to my Liberian music. Of course so much value has been added. I love different artists for different reasons. Some include Bernice Blackie, Lil Moufe also know as Leona Moore, Deng, Tantan, Madio. They are giving us reasons now to be proud of Liberian music.
NNK: Have you read any book lately written by Liberian writers and who is your favorite Liberian author?
STK: So far the last book I read from a Liberian writer was Nvasekie konneh’s The Land of My Father’s Birth. I can’t stop reading it. I go back to it from time to time because of way it is written. From Nimba to Monrovia, the cultural experience from childhood to adulthood is a catching story to read and enjoy. Not because I know you but you are my best Liberian writer.
NNK: It was great chatting with you. Any last words?
STK: Thank you for this interview. I really appreciate it. Well, I will like to tell young Liberians to dream big and work hard to make their dreams come true. It is not enough to dream but we must work hard to make our dreams come true. Together with many of us succeeding we can make this country a great place to be.