MTV Shuga Naija, an MTV Staying Alive Foundation initiative, is back for a fifth season and boasts a strong cast to extend the impact of its taboo-defying edutainment TV series. Set to premier in April this year, the fifth season will focus on storylines about Gender-Based Violence and COVID 19, while continuing to address HIV prevention. Behind the camera, the focus is on empowering female creatives, with an 80% female crew while in front of the camera, an exciting lineup of new faces will be headlined by sensational actresses and co-stars on Netflix’s series ‘Far from Home’, Genoveva Umeh and Gbubemi Ejeye.
Susan Pwajok – best known on-screen from her role in the popular Nigerian family drama series, The Johnsons, has also been announced as a cast member as has well-loved Pan-African MTV Base Culture Squad member, Ilooise Omohinmi. Other new cast members announced include high profile talents Maggie Osuome, Lexan Peters, Ben Touitou, Kem Ajieh Ikechukwu, Okey Uzoeshi, John Njamah, Kiki Omeili, Chioma Edak, Francis Onwochei and, Bolaji Ogunmola.
Last year, MTV Shuga Naija initiated a search for exceptional young talent via online auditions that received over a thousand applications. The two winners of these auditions – Kanaga Emmanuel Eme and Chioma Edak – have been chosen to play lead roles on the show, while others selected will play supporting roles.
Returning MTV Shuga actors include Adesua Etomi-Wellington (Far From Home, Falling, Sugar Rush), Tomiwa Tegbe (My Siblings and I) and Sharon Jatto (The Griot).
"New cast always means deeper, richer stories and, of course, more drama," said Adesua Etomi-Wellington. "Given the importance of the conversation we are making mainstream, I am so excited to be part of the new season, and excited to be sharing the screen with this group of uber-talented individuals and proud new members of the MTV Shuga Naija family."
"The cast of MTV Shuga Naija are not just actors, but ambassadors of our edutainment campaign. They are working tirelessly to ensure that our messaging reaches and positively impacts millions of young Nigerians, empowering them to make better decisions about their health and lives.” remarked Anita Adesiyan, Country Manager, MTV Shuga Naija.
Season 5 of MTV Shuga Naija promises brand new storylines, fresh characters and a stand-alone story, so new audiences are welcome, as well as welcoming back the MTV Shuga family of fans across Nigeria. The magic of MTV Shuga lies in the research done with youth in Nigeria which informs the social and health topics tackled in the series and ensures that the storyline reflects the lives of the youth they hope to edutain. Their mission is to drive social change among youth, a mission they share with a number of like-minded organisations.
“In partnership with Unitaid, Global Innovation Fund and Paramount, we will focus on spotlighting the importance of HIV self-testing and accessibility of testing kits, Gender-Based Violence, COVID-19 vaccine confidence, gender capacity building and modern contraception. Also, through our partnerships with the Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA), the Lagos State Domestic and sexual violence agency (DSVA), the Lagos State Ministry of Health and Hello Lagos, we aim to provide support and direct our audience to the relevant agencies who will offer the required counselling and treatment they need,” confirmed Adesiyan.
In addition to the return of MTV Shuga Naija, MTV Staying Alive Foundation also unveiled their Talent Accelerator Program — a platform created to invest in young, emerging female creatives. The initiative will leverage internship placements and mentorship programmes across production units to advance gender-aware media in the Nigerian TV & Film industry. Its first execution saw the selection of 11 outstanding young women to work across different departments through the filming of the new season.
The crew of MTV Shuga Naija Season 5 is 80% female, further emphasising the campaign’s objective of investing in female creatives in the Nigerian media market. The fifth season of the award-winning TV drama is produced by 1Pod Pictures, a female-led production company out of Nigeria and boasts the youngest producers ever to film MTV Shuga Naija.
The new season of MTV Shuga Naija will premiere on MTV Base (DStv channel 322 and GOtv channel 72), BET, and the free-to-air platform, NTA later this year. All episodes of the season will also be available on Netflix and YouTube.