The MTV Staying Alive Foundation & MTV Base recently commissioned top Nigerian photographerKelechi Obi-Amadi to capture the first official images of the Shugacast and director Biyi Bandeleduring a sizzling photoshoot at the Protea Hotel, Ikoyi, Westwood, Lagos.
The hot sèx-and-relationships drama, currently shooting in Lagos, features a stellar cast including Maria Okanrende (@MariaOkan), Tiwa Savage (@TiwaSavage), Dorcas Shola Fapson(@MsD_Labelle), Okezie Morro (@okeziemorro), Chris Attoh (@ChrisAttoh), Emmanuel Ikubeseand Nick Mutuma (@nickmutuma). Other key cast members include: Sharon Chisom Ezeamaka,James Timini Egbuson, Kachi Nnochiri, Leonora Okine and Olumide Oworu.
Further additions to the cast include Ugbeye Owumi, whowill be playing the part of“Bikiya”, Sani Mu’azu, whois cast as deceitful businessman “Solomon”, and Bikiya Graham-Douglas and KC Ejelonu who both play HIV counsellors. Efa Iwara takes on the role of David following the departure of Adeyemi Okanlawon due to illness. Hip hop artist Don Flexy pops up as an in-house DJ at the “Badoo” club, and even irrepressible MTV Base VJ Ehis Okoeguale gets in on the act, taking time off from presenting “The Official Naija Top 10” to play the part of an MC. Other roles will be played by Silo Emem Bankole (a radio producer) and Charles Ukpong, (Sophie’s disapproving university lecturer).
Two more Shuga characters are still to be cast with three guys and three girls competing for a coveted role in the prestigious drama, which airs around the world from 1 December 2013 (World AIDS Day). In the running are 26 year old student Bukky Babalola (Hills and the Valleys, Accident), 27 year oldNnenna Udeh (Tinsel), 21 year old Olatimehim Blessing (Lady Gaga); 26 year old Duke Elvis (The Johnsons, Murder at Prime Suite, The Chief Servant, Time of Our Lives, Man in the Mirror), 28 year old Lekan Olofinji(Man in the Mirror, Her Proposal) and 24 year old Aigbodion Izien (Echoes, Last 3 Digits). To vote for your favourite go to www.shuga.tv; voting runs until midnight on 25 August.
Fusing sexual health messaging with gripping storylines, Shuga is part of a powerful 360-degree mass media campaign designed to raise awareness about HIV prevention and teen pregnancy in Nigeria.
Key themes covered by the series will include: living with HIV; disclosing your status; getting tested; condom use; gender based violence; gender equality; women’s empowerment; family planning; teen pregnancy; transactional sex; multiple concurrent partners; stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV; and parent/child relationships/communication.
Shuga is to be produced by MTV Base and the MTV Staying Alive Foundation in collaboration withNACA; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund). PEPFAR (The US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) has also expressed a commitment to join forces with the campaign.