Friday, August 19, 2022

‘Love & Hip Hop’ Creator Mona Scott-Young Developing ’Shaka Zulu’ Drama Series


*Mona Scott-Young, creator of the hit franchiseLove & Hip Hop,” is expanding her company into the scripted space and creating an international presence. 

Scott-Young, who runs Monami Entertainment and Monami Productions, tells Deadline she has several projects in development, including a remake of classic South African drama “Shaka Zulu.” She’s also collaborating with BLM Activist Tamika Mallory, Aaron Hernandez’s wife Shayanna Jenkins, and the future of VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop” franchise remains solid. 

On her project with Mallory, who was one of the organizers of the 2017 Women’s March, Scott-Young said: “This is a special, unique, life-changing moment in all of our lives and especially for people of color, and when I look at how it’s being captured I’m like this entire movement is happening on Instagram being captured by cell phones. What will we have to look back on, and so we rallied some of our shooters and we’ve been following Tamika and have been on the ground with her and have really told the story of this reluctant leader of sorts,” she told Deadline. “She’s been thrust into the forefront of this movement and then becomes a voice of the people, not by choice but by necessity and for me it was an incredible honor to be able to lend my skillsets for capturing this moment in time and memorializing it.”

Scott-Young also shared with Deadline why she wanted to dedicated a series to Shayanna Jenkins, the wife of Aaron Hernandez, the NFL star who killed himself after being convicted of murder.

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“Everyone is familiar with Aaron and knows that horrific story of what happened with him, but for me as a woman I look at Shayanna, his significant other, the mother of his children, and I wonder what her life was like. Sleeping next to this man, her childhood sweetheart, and watching this change with him. How did that impact her and her family? That’s a very relatable perspective,” she explained.

“We’re at the early stages of putting the project together but it’s one that we’re passionate and excited to tell because we just think it’s fascinating. She’s been open about sharing all the elements and details that you don’t know and that you haven’t seen in all of the documentaries and news pieces that have been done. So, there is a very special, unique, personal perspective that she can bring to this that no one else can.”

Scott-Young’s Monami has teamed with South African production company New Vision to remake the “Shaka Zulu” series. 

“That is a brilliant classic and when you think about thematically what it represents, there are parallels with what we are experiencing now. It’s strategic rebellion, right? Understanding that now is the time for people to take a stand about the things that are wrong, to not allow themselves to be victimized, that was what Shaka’s legacy was about. He was a masterful and strategic general,” she said.

“I formed a partnership with is a company called NV for New Vision is what it stands for, and these are just really smart, passionate guys and you know, we met and started talking about how we collaborate, how we bring productions there and vice versa and bridge the gap with the cultures and the country, and Shaka Zulu is the project that we’re doing together.”

When it comes to the “Love & Hip Hop” franchise, Scott- Young said the challenge remains to keep the show fresh for viewers. 

“I kind of embrace the challenge and see it as a new frontier to be conquered,” she said. “The beauty of it is each city has managed to establish its own fan base and has its own place in the zeitgeist and with the fans, and, of course my hope is that all four cities come back, there has been nothing to indicate otherwise. They all have fared really well for the network in terms of ratings and they’ve been the cornerstone of the programming there so I don’t see that changing.”

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.




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