‘Shuga’ Series, An Icebreaker In Conversations About Sex – Timini
Youth-oriented drama series, Shuga is back with a bang.
Bringing on board a new set of cast, as well as some from the past whose characters have now evolved, the series premiered its 6th edition in Lagos, February and is expected to start airing on TV stations from March 6, 2018.
Shuga chronicles some of the social and cultural issues facing young people and how they might help arm themselves in decision making.
Some of the issues include bullying, peer pressure, sex as well as coping with trends and pop culture, but this new season focusses on family planning, contraception, HIV prevention and sexual health education.
Timini Egbuson who was introduced in the third season as a teenager, (Tobi), trying to find his cause, has over the past seasons, grown into a more mature character with his own everyday challenges.
Speaking to Channels Television’s Entertainment News at the premiere, he described the series as an icebreaker for discussing some of the issues it tackles.
“It’s an icebreaker. The seasons of Shuga and the stories we talk about, basically put these conversations on the table.
“These are conversations that we would normally not have had, these are conversations that parents would normally not have had with their kids but Shuga just kind of like creates that icebreaker level where you can now say, what do you think about sophie’s character, what do you think about Tobi’s character, what would you have done, has this happened to you in real life, those are questions that the drama that we bring in Shug, brings to the table and obviously because of those conversations, people are now more learned and more informed,” he said.
Another actor in the series, Olumide Oworu’s who played the character, Weki, said it has also helped him grow as an individual in the real world with more caution.
“There are certain things that I can’t think of trying now because I have been on Shuga. I’m more equipped with information to share with my friends so I’m not just telling them don’t do this – I can give you five reason why you shouldn’t and the repercussions of your actions as well so I’m in a more informed position to change people’s mindsets positively and that’s what ‘Shuga’ does, it gives you an ambassadorship and you get to be a voice and people actually pay attention to what you are saying.
“Now, to an extent, I’m an authority on subject matters that Shuga covers,” he added.
The debut season of the hit series set in Kenya, stars the now-celebrated Hollywood actress, Lupita Nyongo who in recent times is only listed in big-budget Hollywood flicks including the current wave, ‘Black Panther’.
Also speaking to Channels Television, the country manager for Viacom (producers of the series), Akintunde Johnson, expressed hopes that they would continue to unearth talent that would eventually make it to the world stage.
“What we see as the biggest singular message in all of this is a platform from which we hope to unearth some of the greatest African talents and showcase them to the global stage.
“The Guys who formed the cast for this particular episode for instance, you will see, have been carefully chosen – a mix of the unknown and some unknown but everyone has got a platform from which they can move on to the next level.
“One of the subjects that Shuga addresses includes sex which generally is not a palatable topic in family conversations within the African society.
The producers, however, carefully weaved it into the theme without coming out as offensive.
“The Vice President of Viacom, Alex Okosi said: It’s important to be able to deal with these issues in a careful way. Is important for us to do research and understand how deep we can go about talking about them.
“The real challenge is this, young people want to know more, want to learn more, they want to be educated about these issues and we have to face them head on but at the same time be very respectful for our culture and the environment that we are in.
“That’s the reason why Shuga has been so impactful because in a lot of ways we have been able to find that balance and the reason being, we have a very very local cast and loads of creative people that understand the culture and attitudes such that we can bring stories to life that make sense to our audiences without offending anyone, but at the same time, really tackling the issues in a very powerful way”.