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2.5: The Champ — Emeka Nnaka
This episode of Tulsa Talks is brought to you by the Tulsa Regional Chamber.
Today, Amazing Emeka talks about finding his path — and his surprise appearance on the Ellen Show.
Then, city editor Morgan Phillips takes the bus — with an adorable sidekick in tow, during What the What?!
So let’s talk, Tulsa.
Emeka Nnaka is synonymous with resilience, optimism and service. Today, he’s a motivational speaker, the face of the United Way, an ambassador for The Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges, and an advocate with Youth Services of Tulsa and Operation Aware.
He was even named one of the Tulsa World’s People to Watch in 2019.
But Emeka would not be "the hair in the chair" that we know and love today had it not been one event that forever altered his life. Emeka picks up the story from our studio.
After a devastating injury on the football field, Emeka Nnaka had no choice but to totally reinvent his identity. He began mentoring high school students, and about 2 years after his injury, an interaction with these kids offered a moment of clarity.
When we come back, Emeka dishes on on what it was like end up on the Ellen Show. But our next stop? A Tulsa transit adventure with first-time riders Morgan and Haven Phillips.
Tulsans have loved Emeka Nnaka for years, but Amazing Emeka was recently in the national spotlight, thanks to a surprise appearance on the Ellen Show. "I thought I was visiting the ‘Ellen’ studio to record a series for her YouTube channel," he says. Instead, he was taken before a live audience and given $100,000 as part of Ellen DeGeneres’ and Cheerios’ "One Million Acts of Good" campaign partnership. You may have seen the video from November 2018 — it’s been watched nearly 2 million times on Facebook.
You can follow Emeka Nnaka on Twitter and Instagram, @emekannaka, or by visiting his website, emekannaka.com. You’ll want to keep an eye out, since Emeka is working on his first book. In December, Emeka returned to "The Ellen Show" and received another surprise from DeGeneres: $20,000 for Youth Services of Tulsa.
You’ll may see Emeka out and about in his new, customized van — Fittingly, named Ellen.
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Every episode, we play you out with some local music. This is "Got Life" by Tulsa’s own Jennifer Marriott Band. The album is called "Digging Up My Roots."
Check out this band’s upcoming shows at facebook.com/jennifermarriottband. The band’s music can be found on all the digital outlets and on CD Baby.