How VCN Africa is echoing the transformation championed by African youths

For decades, the youth have been at the forefront of significant change on the continent. In more recent years, we have seen youth-led movements make use of new media platforms like social media to effect change. From the #SayNoToRape protests in Nigeria to the #BlackLivesMatter movement which has gained global attention in recent weeks, youth all over the world are increasingly speaking out and making their voices heard.

The revolution, however, is still being televised by media networks who recognise the importance of being able to tell the stories of young people. Bada Akintude-Johnson, the Country Manager of ViacomCBS Networks Africa helms the Nigerian arm of the company which houses youth, family and entertainment brands such as MTV, MTV Base and BET, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central that reaches 100 million people across the continent daily. MTV Base is the cultural home of the millennial generation in Africa, pioneering and creating innovative content for young people. Since the launch of the channel in Africa 15 years ago, they have prioritised telling stories that are relevant, fun, bold and stimulating while reflecting this generation’s hopes, dreams, talents, ambitions and diversity with distinctive programming for the youth by the youth.

The network led an industry approach across their platforms to address Gender Based Violence (GBV) in late 2019 with the ‘STOP the Violence’ campaign and again in June with #BlackLivesMatter. Social media has helped drive social justice movements in Africa and African youth are determined to drive change in their communities and in their countries.

As today’s youth continue to grapple with several socio-economic and human rights challenges, Akintunde-Johnson, says it’s the responsibility of the media to provide content that extends beyond entertainment formats and echoes the transformation African youth are championing in society.

In recent months, this has been against the background of the most unprecedented health crisis that the world has faced in over 100 years. The COVID-19 pandemic is not only affecting the livelihood and well-being of today’s youth but is affecting their economic mobility and ability to take advantage of opportunities that will better their lives. These are real stories being experienced by real people which MTV Base in partnership with the MTV Staying Alive Foundation wanted to highlight in an adaption of the popular youth series MTV Shuga.

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