Thursday, November 27, 2008

Talking About Sex on the Red Carpet: LTAS Hosts at the Ms. Malaika Event

Friday, 10 October 2008

It was fashion and flair on a Saturday night. It was drama, and dancing, and tears. It was the Ms. Malaika beauty pageant at the Unity Conference Center outside Monrovia.
Thousands of Liberians – old and young—trooped at the Unity Conference Center on Saturday, October 5, 2008 to get a first-hand account of the grand finale of the spectacular and well-publicized Ms. Malaika Beauty Pageant Beauty of African Origin. Showcasing ten attractive and eloquent Liberian young damsels, the Ms. Malaika sought to project beauty and pageantry in the real African sense; plump shape, deeply round curves, et al, and also sought to dispel the “westernized” sense of beauty that usually portray pencil-thin girls of six to seven inches in height, with long sharp noses, hollow cheeks, curling eyelashes.
Also on the red carpet were the “Let’s Talk About Sex” Radio Show Hosts who, with just in two months of the show’s airing, have virtually become celebrities of sorts. The publicity campaign of the show trekked to the Conference Center, with the huge “Let’s Talk About Sex” banner posted along the aisle. The banner which showcases the four LTAS youth hosts; Mahmud Johnson, Janice Pratt, Bookman Muapoe, and Kula Fofana as well as information on the show’s airing date and time (Saturdays at 2:30 PM and Thursdays at 11:30 AM on UNMIL Radio), was an attention- grabber for most of the attendees at the occasion, as most young people horded around the banner to meet and congratulate the hosts who were distributing the show’s promotional materials such as bumper stickers and key chains (key holders). Others just wanted to be fed additional information on the show. Prominent amongst those met by the hosts were Ms. Liberia 2006/2007 Patrice Juah, Award-winning Nollywood actor Desmond Elliot, sensational Liberian reggae star Rabbie Nass, R&B wonder boy Picador et al, symbolizing the large audience that the show commands.
The “Let’s Talk About Sex” radio program is the first component of PSI/ Liberia’s SmartChoice® initiative. The show which airs on UNMIL Radio every Saturday at 2:30 PM and repeats at 11:30 AM on Thursdays is hosted by four young people, Kula, Bookman, Janice, and Mahmud. Though daunting in contemporary Liberia, the issue of facilitating an open and honest discussion about sex with young people is very pivotal, as the nation transitions from an immediate post conflict state to mainstream development and rebuilding. The “Let’s Talk About Sex” radio show which is done in simple English to apply to all young people regardless of his/her level of education is designed to educate and inform young people, in a hip and pragmatic mode, on the dangers of early sex. It is embedded with lots of information and interesting segments and corners that entertain its audience from all social classes, no doubt.
At the climax of the pageant, it was pure bliss; Izetta Jones (Delegate # 12) walked away with the Miss Malaika 2008/2009 crown with Joy V. Reynolds and Dionne Davies trailing behind her as first and second runners up respectively. The other contestants went home sanguinely, appreciative of their newly found fame. But most importantly, young people went home with a sigh that their wistful longings have come to an end; talking about sex is no longer a taboo!
The Let’s Talk About Sex crew can be reached at cell # +231 6 668 370, or via email at

Mahmud Johnson is one of the Let's Talk About Sex radio show co-hosts.

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