BY ‘SEGUN ODEJIMI
When you successfully execute an entertainment piece that also doubles as some form of education and the end product doesn’t come off as preachy, you don’t know the amazing stunt you have pulled off.
MTV Shuga is built on the pillar of sex education and this season is no different. Even though it slightly leans towards the topic of reproductive health, the core stays same. Target young people and tell them to make their sexual choices with little bit more conscious meditation. Everything else is secondary. But as you do this though, you need to strike a balance. The young people you want to say these things to must be entertained enough to stay with you and they must also be educated enough to stand up from seeing your content with something extra in their heads and on their minds.
MTV Shuga does this with minimal flaw. From the first three episodes I saw (from ten in total this season), I could count at least a dozen cogent messages. But each morsel was brilliantly rolled in draw soup and quickly inserted in our mouths while we opened them in awe at the beautiful pictures we saw on screen.
At the beginning though, the story’s movement as told with the picture was jarring. Following the camera and mini-scenes around almost got me dizzy. But it didn’t take long for it to settle down into a brilliant visual piece. And when it did, it was such a cool ride.
The most impressive part of the show for me was the acting brilliance of the “newbies”. Helena Nelson impressed me most with how she interpreted her role as Diana. As the character dictated, she owned the screen whenever she appeared on it regardless of whether she was in a pair or a group. A sassy, extremely forward, dull-when-it-comes-to-matters-of-the-classroom teenager was brought to life by Helena.
But Helena wasn’t the only one who put up a commendable delivery. Uzoamaka Aniunoh (Cynthia) who Georgia Arnold (the executive director of MTV Staying Alive Foundation) had a few similar kind words for at the premiere, Adebukola Oladipupo (Faa) Amal Umar (Hadiza) as well as veteran Funlola Aofiyebi-Raimi were very good at what they did. Nobody was bad at what they did in this production which is a big statement by everyone involved in this production.
As long as Helena Nelson does not submit herself to mediocre directors and scripts that litter Nollywood and keeps working to improve her talent, we have a monster actor on our hands.