Before ’12 Years A Slave,’ Academy Award Nominee Lupita Nyong’o Starred in ‘Shuga’

by Chanel Cathey, Viacom

Lupita Nyong’o is a Hollywood sensation, gripping audiences with her Oscar-nominated performance in 12 Years a Slave and stunning style watchers with her signature red carpet style. Before her acclaimed film debut in the Steve McQueen film, Lupita co-starred in the MTV Staying Alive Foundation’s Kenyan television drama, Shuga which aired on MTV Base. In its first season, Lupita played Ayira, a beautiful and ambitious college student that explores relationships while navigating urban Nairobi.

The soap opera delivered influential messaging about sexual health and the risk of HIV infection within a plot about living and loving in the city. In a 2011 CNN Interview, Lupita talked about the show’s ability to engage and educate young viewers in a compelling way.  “Shuga was so effective on Kenyan youth because of the fact that it was modern, it was hip, it was fast and furious,” she said. “In Shuga, it’s young people telling young people, advising young people. So I think that is very effective and young people respond to that.”

What a fitting flashback with Oscar night around the corner. Lupita’s longtime Shuga fans will no doubt keep their fingers crossed for her to win the best supporting actress race. Good luck, Lupita!

Check out the video above to see Lupita in a first season Shuga scene.

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