New cast. New twists. Great theme song. Broader conversations.
The award-winning TV drama MTV Naija Shuga returned two weeks ago, with the fourth season titled “Choices”. Following its history of handling sensitive conversations with calculated and enjoyable drama, this season returns with its plotlines intersecting HIV/AIDs, unprotected sex, slut-shaming, sexual assault, the prevalence of early child marriage today, parenting, the intricacies of teenage life, and toxic masculinity.
It picks up from last season, which ended with Faa (Adebukola Oladipupo) speaking out on her rape experience. The new season sees Faa’s case being handled by the police, amidst the backlash and support that inevitably springs up when victims speak out. There is however financial breakthrough, thanks to an anonymous caller and the uphill battle of getting evidence to strengthen her case.
Although the plot trains its light into the lives of other characters and what they also have to deal with; from the complicated personal, academic problems faced by the students of Molade Memorial High, the pressure of childbearing on women, to the fostering of early child marriage, Faa’s case sits on steeper ground as the central base of this season.
The season dealing with a rape case in what would ordinarily be dismissed in most Nigerian series. Rather we would have seen ways in which our society – through every one of us – continues to refuse to believe women. This speaks positively to our times in how it raises the importance of not just speaking out as a victim, but also being believed and supported by the people who matter the most.
In most cases, these people are our families, friends, briefly acquainted strangers, witnesses who’d rather keep quiet than breaking the toxic codes placed on masculinity, and even the general public.
Characters like Tobi (Timini Egbuson) are seen stepping out of the comfort of silence, to help Faa secure justice for getting raped by his friend Bada (Adebola Aduwo). Frances’s (Ruby Akubueze) mother responding to her rape experience with love and not the harsh judgement that beclouds the reality of many. MTV Shuga 4 is having an important conversation and to a large extent, it looks like it is doing it right.
The season is fresh yet, although sufficiently arresting, I am hoping Faa wins this case. It would be glorious to see.
Nelson C.J is a culture writer with works in The New York Times, Xtra Magazine, OkayAfrica, Black Youth Project, AfroPunk, and a few other spaces. You can find him saving dog pictures on Twitter.