Julie Coker: Empowered women change the game

by Duchess Magazine

Julie Coker is a retired Nigerian television newsreader, producer, and presenter (born Juliet Coker on July 25, 1939). Coker, one of the first female broadcasters in the nation, was well-known on early Nigerian television, especially on The Bar Beach Show and her own series Julie’s World.

Coker was born in Warri to an Itsekiri mother and an Egba/Sierra Leonean father. She developed an interest in music and performing art while attending the Catholic school St. Mary’s Convent Primary School. Later, she was accepted into Holy Child College, another Catholic school, where the nuns gave her the catholic-friendly first name “Juliana”.

When Coker was fourteen years old, her mother became unwell and went to her village to recover, leaving Coker with her stepfather’s family. After going a year without hearing from her mother, Coker travelled to Sapele, where her great-aunt almost tricked her into an early polygamous marriage. However, Coker managed to escape with the aid of another aunt and return to Lagos, where she was awarded a scholarship to continue her studies at Holy Child College. Coker has since then been nothing short of a wonder woman.

She participated in a festival of the arts in 1957 on behalf of her school, which was covered by the Daily Times.

After completing her studies, Coker started working as a teacher at the Our Lady of Apostles Convent in Warri. Coker later worked with the Nigerian Television Service, (NTV, Lagos) now the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) where she retired as the Head of Presentations.

In addition to a few children’s shows, she also wrote some books, including ones for children.

The seasoned broadcaster and culture enthusiast was named the new president and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA) in the United States of America in 2020, according to a San Diego media outlet.

She appeared in the pre-Nollywood movie Dinner with the Devil.

Coker made a name for herself in the Nigerian entertainment industry as well. In 1976, she released the highlife album Ere Yon (Sweet Songs), and in 1981, she produced Tomorrow. God Bless Our Pope, her third and final studio album, was released in 1982.

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