The MTV Staying Alive Foundation has unveiled an exciting fifth season of the multi-award-winning TV drama MTV Shuga Naija alongside a Talent Accelerator Program which will invest in female creatives within the Nigerian film industry. in partnership with Unitaid, The Global Innovation Fund, and Paramount. The new season of MTV Shuga Naija will promote HIV prevention and self-testing, and COVID-19 including vaccine uptake, while tackling gender-based violence and promoting gender equity.
Together with on-the-ground activities, the program will target young people aged 15 to 24 years. The campaign has also held the MTV Shuga Naija online auditions for aspiring talents to join the MTV Shuga Naija alumni. The new MTV Shuga Naija season will experience a revamp from past seasons that fans know and love, from addressing gender issues in the media to investing specifically in growing female-led companies in the Nigerian film industry.
The MTV Staying Alive Foundation will launch a Talent Accelerator Program, which will offer internship and mentorship programs for emerging female creatives in different areas of production, to accelerate advancement towards “gender-aware” media, through the production of MTV Shuga Naija and the strengthening of local capacity. The Talent Accelerator Program will support the pathway for gender-transformative, high-quality content production and give more young females an opportunity to take on senior roles in future seasons of MTV Shuga Naija.
Considering this, the fifth season of the TV drama will be produced by 1Pod Pictures, a female-led production company, founded by Directors Isioma Osaje and Temidayo Makanjuola. Pre-production is already in progress, with the series to be broadcast in Q2 of 2023. Adesua Etomi-Wellington who played Sheila on MTV Shuga Naija season 2 and Down South will star in the new season alongside Tomiwa Tegbe and Sharon Jatto.
MTV Shuga Naija fuses critical storylines with health messaging to positively shift viewer attitudes and behaviour. The campaign will use real-life experiences and immersive storylines to challenge myths and stigma around HIV and AIDS, and promote HIV prevention, highlighting the importance of regular self-testing as well as modern contraception. The new season will also encourage conversations centered around gender-based violence among young people and how to seek help; as well as raising awareness of the risks of getting infected with COVID-19 and passing it to higher-risk age groups, and the importance of vaccination.