Shuga II dishes out hard lessons on HIV

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Shuga: love, sex, money dished out some hard lessons on Friday night as it met an eager audience at the exclusive premiere at the Kenya National Museums. About 200 guests joined cast, crew and sponsors to watch the anticipated second serving of an MTV Staying Alive project on Friday night, aimed at highlighting the prevalence of HIV from a lifestyle perspective.

Painting a picture from as many perspectives as possible, the talented cast at Shuga: LSM delved into several issues that would make everyone cringe at the breakfast table.

Reckless sex occasioned by loneliness and revenge; the ease with which one can acquire multiple partners; having sex for money to buy clothes; having your morals questioned because of that one time that you did not use protection, etc.

Shuga: LSM is more blatant than expected; and superb acting keeps you on the edge of your seat. Fans who watched the first edition of Shuga and were awed will be blown away by this one.

Sharon Olago aka Violet carries the start of the story, acting as a link of sorts to the tree of characters that evolve as the plots unfold. She has to find something to fill the space created after the father whose approval she’d always sought ultimately – rejected her for being HIV positive.

Baby (Wanjiku Karanja), is looking for her father who abandoned her and her mother as a child, and ends up getting raped in the process.

Dala (Brenda Wairimu), Leo (Nick Mutuma), Miss B’Have (Avril) and Femi (9con) are locked in a maze of love, lust and broken hearts that is literally being held together by a condom.

Kipepeo (Shirleen) comes out of the woodworks and casts a shine on a quietly amazing Angelo, played by Nick Ndeda who is the friend of a local thug played brilliantly by Boneye of P-Unit.

Skola (David Omwange) is a crucial character and so is Kennedy (Anthony Mwangi) but Rayban (Edward Nyanaro) is severely underplayed and needs a bigger role – if only to highlight the life, risks and stigmas faced as a gay man living in Nairobi.

The message of HIV is pushed closer into your circle of comfort and yet, as you learn you can take in more of the drama with some popcorn. Shuga: Love, Sex, Money airs on MTV Base (channel 322) starting February 14 from 2230 EAT.

Shuga’s second series was created in partnership with PEPFAR (The US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS relief), The Partnership for an HIV-Free Generation (HFG) and the Kenyan government.

The theme of the series pushes the G-Pange lifestyle change campaign, which beckons young people to take charge of their lives.

Baby spoke to Capital Lifestyle ahead of the premiere, expressing the challenging role she played.

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