Over the summer, MTV Base and the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, joined forces with the Nigerian government’s National Agency for the Control of AIDS and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to launch Shuga, MTV’s award winning TV series and multimedia campaign.
You might recall that Twelve Years A Slave actress, Lupita Nyong’o, starred in the Kenyan version of Shuga, around 2009/2010. Series 3, which is set in Nigeria, debuts on December 1, and will be available to viewers around the world, via TV and online channels like YouTube.
The first Shuga series (comprised of 3 twenty-four minute episodes) was filmed in Kenya in August/September 2009, starring a young cast of then upcoming Kenyan actors and actresses, telling bitter-sweet tales of love, loss, sex and relationships, set in the clubs, bars, campuses and other hangouts of contemporary Nairobi – the intent being to give a raw view on the lives of sexually active young Kenyans, and highlight the risks associated with unprotected sex and living careless lifestyles, all told through interconnected storylines.
Comparisons to Stateside MTV series were made, giving it labels like “Real World: Kenya,” although it’s not a reality TV series. It’s all scripted drama, made for the young MTV crowd.
So the series has now come to Nigeria, directed by Biyi Bandele (Half Of A Yellow Sun), and starring Ice Prince, Iyanya, Maria Okanrende, Tiwa Savage, Chris Attoh, Nick Mutuma, and Sharon Chisom Ezeamaka.
The series premiered yesterday, December 1, 2013, with episode 1 on MTV Base (DStv Channel 322), Nigerian terrestrial broadcasters and other MTV networks and third party broadcasters around the world, on World AIDS Day, and is now available for viewing online, embedded below.
Here’s the episode’s synopsis:
When Femi (Ikubese Emmanuel Ifeanyi) returns from Nairobi to Lagos, a long standing secret upsets the relationship between his music promoter friend Ekene (Okezie Morro), and Ekene’s girlfriend Foye (Maria Okanrende). Meanwhile Foye’s best friend Sophie (Dorcas Shola Fapson) is outraged when her little sister Princess (Sharon Ezeamaka) appears unexpectedly on campus.
Other elements of the Nigerian Shuga campaign will include a radio drama series, a peer educator program, a comic book in Hausa and English, a mobile information service, social media and a range of digital platforms.
Alex Okosi, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, Viacom International Media Networks Africa, said, “MTV Base is proud and excited to bring Shuga to Nigeria for the first time. We are delighted that this award-winning series and multimedia campaign will be using its muscle to shine a light on important public health issues affecting youth, and promoting meaningful behaviour change while leveraging Nigerian creativity and talent.”
Watch episode 1 below: