Nick Mutuma is back with 'MTV Shuga Alone Together' Digital Mini-Series - The Sauce
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Nick Mutuma is back with ‘MTV Shuga Alone Together’ Digital Mini-Series

“MTV Shuga Alone Together”  will Tackle Crucial COVID-19 Societal Challenges. Fan favorites from Timini Egbuson, Jemima Osunde, Nick Mutuma and Lerato Walaza together with a Pan-African cast from Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Cote D’Ivoire join forces to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The MTV Staying Alive Foundation, in partnership with the United Nations’ Every Woman Every Child Partnership and Unitaid: supporting innovation for global health, Viacom CBS Africa, and MTV International have announced a 60-part mini-series of MTV Shuga to raise awareness in the global fight to flatten the COVID-19 curve. Produced remotely, the self-shot series will be written and directed by acclaimed writer, Tunde Aladese, and will be available for streaming and sharing across online platforms from the 20th of April 2020. 

Set in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Cote D’Ivoire during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak, MTV Shuga Alone Together will depict every aspect of life during the pandemic over the next three months. The relevant story will be told through video calls between MTV Shuga characters, reflecting how social media has become the new form of socializing during this era of lockdown, and reflect the changes in our lives as lockdown changes across the months. 

MTV Shuga Alone Together will educate viewers across the world about how practicing hygienic habits, social distancing, and self-isolation are critical to fighting the spread of the coronavirus. From tackling COVID-19 myths and stifling the spread of fake news, to keeping a close eye on mental health while staying home, the pan-African production, shot entirely by the actors during the lockdown, will be a window into the real-life effects of the pandemic.

Along with the critical public health messaging, MTV Shuga Alone Together will portray other real-life threats that people across the world are facing during their national lockdowns; such as the heightened dangers of domestic violence or mental health challenges. MTV Shuga Alone Together also examines the increased risks faced by people who may be HIV+ and not managing their viral load, and/or those who have TB.

Georgia Arnold, Executive Director at MTV Staying Alive Foundation and Senior Vice President of Social Responsibility, at ViacomCBS Networks International said, “MTV Shuga has always believed in educating and engaging young audiences on real issues. MTV Shuga Alone Together continues this trend at a time when education and information in stopping the spread of COVID-19 are needed the most. By using popular culture, relatable storylines and the talents of some of Africa’s strongest actors, we are determined to reinforce the crucial messages which will contain the outbreak.”

Vivian Lopez, Executive Coordinator at the Every Woman Every Child Secretariat echoed these sentiments by saying, “These are stressful times for everyone, but with the mandated physical distancing and the feelings of uncertainty around school and work closures, this is an especially tough time to be a teenager. MTV Shuga has a long history of meeting young people where they are with life-saving methods proven to positively impact decision making. This is why Every Woman Every Child is partnering with MTV Shuga to ensure that young people have the information they need to navigate this pandemic and to protect themselves, their friends and families. We not only want to stop the spread of COVID-19, but we want to offer young people a way to process what is happening in their lives and around the world. Information is the tool that can bridge the gap from uncertainty to understanding.”

MTV Shuga, a multi-platform edutainment campaign, has used pop culture, trending music and youthful storytelling to change behaviors for over a decade. A 2017 study by the World Bank proved that viewers of the television drama were twice as likely to test for HIV – while the show’s storylines, touching on gender-based violence, HIV prevention and safe sex, have educated a growing fanbase across the world since the show debuted in Kenya in 2009.  MTV Shuga Alone Together will be the first time that cast members from Kenya, Côte D’Ivoire, Nigeria and South Africa have starred in the same season.

Tunde Aladese, a fond custodian of the MTV Shuga brand, helms the latest project. Aladese wrote two episodes for MTV Shuga Naija in 2013 before returning as head writer for 2018’s MTV Shuga Naija series 3

The production features several familiar faces from various seasons across the years including Timini Egbuson (Tobi), Nick Mutuma (Leo), Tomiwa Tegbe (Wasiu), Jemima Osunde (Leila), Lerato Walaza (Zamo), Ange Eric N’Guessan (Daniel) and several other notable characters.

Watch the series on YouTube.

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