Mona Scott-Young (This is Hot 97, The Road to Stardom with Missy Elliott) is in the works to develop several scripted series, including a remake of the South African series, Shaka Zulu, according to Shadow and Act. This will be Scott-Young’s first venture outside of reality television, where her Monami Entertainment and Monami Productions handle the Love & Hip-Hop franchise for VH1.
“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,” Scott-Young said via Shadow and Act.
The original Shaka Zulu was a miniseries that aired on the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in 1986. It was based on the novel written by Joshua Sinclair (A Rose in Winter, Jump) who wrote the series. Directed by William C. Faure (The Englishwoman, Images of Violence), the show starred Henry Cele (The Ghost and the Darkness, Shaka Zulu: The Last Great Warrior) as Shaka, king of Zulu who reigned from 1816-1828. It chronicled his rule which included dealings with British traders. The show also starred Edward Fox (The Day of the Jackal, Gandhi), Fiona Fullerton (Run Wild, Run Free, A View to a Kill), Trevor Howard (Brief Encounter, Ryan’s Daughter), and Christopher Lee (The Wicker Man, Lord of the Rings). Ten 50-minute episodes aired on the SABC, and later in syndication in the U.S.
According to Shadow and Act, many are skeptical about this creative decision from Scott-Young as her bread and butter is reality TV. And those same shows have garnered much criticism for allegedly portraying its cast of mostly African Americans in a poor light. There is also a question of whether fans of the reality franchise will dwindle or waver support for this new endeavor.
“I kind of embrace the challenge and see it as a new frontier to be conquered,” Young said via Shadow and Act. “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.”