Rapper Nadia Nakai and Nigerian stylist Swanky Jerry. Picture: Instagram
Rapper Nadia Nakai and Nigerian stylist Swanky Jerry. Picture: Instagram

Why we need a reality show like 'Young, Famous & African’

By Alyssia Birjalal Time of article published Jul 13, 2021

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South Africans and the rest of the world are obsessed with reality shows.

Give us anything about people’s lives, be it locally produced or not, and despite whether we love it or not, we would gladly eat it up, crush the bones, suck the marrow and then when we are done, spit out the bones.

That’s why Netflix’s announcement of it’s first African reality series, “Young, Famous & African” could not have come at a better time.

In fact it’s about time we celebrate and show off our very own African celebrities to the rest of the world instead of creating fame and wealth for unknown people overseas.

With shows like “Bling Empire“, ”Made In Mexico“, ”Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives“ and even ”Yummy Mummies“ being aired for a global audience and getting renewed, it clearly indicates that reality TV is very successful and that people love to immerse themselves in the lives of the rich and famous.

We even pick sides and get involved in the catfights and drama they bring with them.

In South Africa we’ve had many celebrity reality shows, including “Being Bonang”, “The Ranakas” and “Life with Kelly Khumalo”, which surpassed viewer expectations, so with the arrival of a continental reality show, we can only begin to imagine what a runaway success it will be.

On this beautiful and colourful continent we have an abundance of talented, mainstream TV and music artists who live life like the one percentage, but due to a complete lack of paparazzi, no one gets to see these celebrities travel on private planes or take vacations to the South of France while sipping the best bubbly money can buy.

And if it wasn’t for glimpses on social media, we’d be in complete darkness.

Khanyi Mbau. Picture: Instagram

That’s why having a show like “Young, Famous & African” is so important. It shows that we do indeed have successful, young Africans who live a life of splendour, one we can all dream of living.

When we watched “Bling Empire”, we were immediately engrossed in their OTT displays of wealth, envious of their parties, designer clothes and shopping trips.

But we were also alarmed by the domestic abuse storyline between two cast members, and how it jolted us back to reality.

The casting brings to the screen the talented actress, singer and businesswoman Khanyi Mbau, rapper Nadia Nakai, musician Diamond Platnumz, renowned South African DJ, Naked DJ, Nigerian model and actress Annie Macaulay, South African sports anchor and media personality, Andile Ncube and Nigerian stylist, Swanky Jerry. Together they give their fans a taste of their otherwise secretive love lives.

Musician Diamond Platnumz. Picture: Instagram

The eight episode show is created and executive produced by award-winning media maven, Peace Hyde, with Adelaide Joshua-Hill and Martin Asare-Amankwa.

The show is geared up to be a glitzy reality series, real-life soap opera that follows the group of young, affluent and famous A-list media personalities hailing from South Africa, Nigeria and East Africa.

The show was shot in Johannesburg, which is a relief as we were rather worried about how they managed shooting in multiple countries during a global pandemic.

They are all friends, well connected and on a quest to find love, rekindle old flames and reboot struggling relationships as they continue to shine bright in their careers and social lives.

We are expecting a layered and nuanced show, one that’s not just about their success as entertainers and business people, but a show that reminds us that they are human and there will be times when they are vulnerable.

The show is set for a global release to 190 countries with over 200 million subscribers.

“Young, Famous & African” is expected to be released in early 2022.

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