Today we watched the first two episodes of the MTV Africa drama series Shuga, a program filmed in Kenya that is raising awareness around HIV/AIDS among young people across Africa. After viewing the film, students developed questions for a skype interview with lead actress, Lupita Nyong’o, who is currently pursuing her graduate studies in Acting and Film at Yale University.
In her interview, Nyong’o discussed how starring in Shuga has changed her life. In addition to being an actress, she is now an Ambassador for HIV/AIDS and she has an important message: “know your status.”
See below for response from REEL Filmmakers Victoria, Raquel and Indiya:
What I’ve learned from watching Shuga and interviewing actress Lupita Nyong’o is that in Kenya, HIV/AIDS awareness is very important. I think because of the nationality of it all. African-Americans have a high percentage in HIV/AIDS and because over there in Kenya they don’t have the same resources we do in the States, they it upon themselves to let others know about the disease. I have also learned, or observed that in Kenya, life is very fast pasted. The show SHUGA is a small reflection of the Kenya society, and a lot of things happened in a very small amount of time. It looks like when in Kenya, if you want things done, do them quick. SHUGA is a very good show and it is powerful with an even greater message. (Victoria)
My comments on the show Shuga are that it portrays and shares a valid and vital point about our society today. The show itself is supposed to talk about H.I.V./A.I.D awareness, which it does and in my opinion it’s on point with it. However it also shows the issues that revolve around it as well. For example it shows the problems of drinking alcohol and the consequences that comes after it. Also it shows the problem society has with sexual behaviors for example the main character in the show almost has sex with a owner of a company so she can get in the company herself even though she has a boyfriend who wants to marry her. So to me there is more to it than just H.I.V./A.I.D. awareness it talks about the society we live in that makes the problem spread. (Raquel)
I thought that the film Shuga was very interesting because it had a lot of things going on and everything was clear on what was happening in the movie. When we interviewed one of the actresses, Ms. Lupita I learned that doing Shuga was a big experience for her. I also learned that people in Kenya were very watchful of HIV and aids. And that was another thing the movie was about. (Indiya)
See episode one of Shuga here: