MTV launches new celebrity series Faces focusing on grief and mental health
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: MTV
Trigger Warning: This article contains references to discusses grief and suicide
MTV has announced a powerful new series that will unpack grief and death through the eyes of celebrities Ashley Cain, Brenda Edwards, Kelsey Parker, Jordan Stephens and Roman Kemp.
The ground-breaking series, MTV FACES, will feature raw discussions about death and suicide from famous faces who have experienced loss in the public eye.
Ashley, who serves as host of the series, and his former partner Safiyya Vorajee lost their eight-month-old daughter Azaylia on 24 April 2021 after she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Both of Azaylia’s parents bravely shared her story with the nation and inspired others to learn more about leukaemia. They also established The Azaylia Foundation in August 2021 to help support families by providing memorable experiences for children with cancer.
In the newly released trailer for the MTV series, Ashley talks about being the ‘father of an angel’ and recalls the moment his daughter stopped breathing.
The 32-year-old will encourage ‘vulnerable conversations’ in the series, with the hope of giving a real life glimpse into how his celebrity guests cope when they’re experiencing difficult days.
The press release states that the guests will also reveal ‘what pulls them through hard times, how their experiences have made them who they are today, and why we need to talk more openly about grief and mental health’.
“Since losing my beautiful daughter Azaylia, my world changed,” Ashley commented. “The subject of grief is something we will all experience in life, yet talking about it remains incredibly taboo.
“So I am proud to be a part of this crucial series, exploring and navigating through the different faces of grief that we will experience.
“With the help of my four incredible guests, we create a safe space for open and vulnerable conversations, of the pain and struggle but also the beauty and strength in grief, whilst also tackling the stigma that surrounds mental health. Welcome to MTV FACES.”
The weekly series aims to be ‘brutally honest’ and tackle the stigma around mental health.
The first episode, which will debuts on 30 March, features Kelsey Parker, the widow of The Wanted singer Tom Parker who died on 30 March 2022 after he was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2020.
Kelsey is mum to the couple’s two children, Aurelia, three and Bodhi, two and when she announced her husband’s death on Instagram, she shared: “Our hearts are broken, Tom was the centre of our world and we can’t imagine life without his infectious smile and energetic presence.”
Loose Women panellist Brenda Edwards will appear in episode two on 6 April, and will open up about the loss of her son Jamal Edwards on 20 February, marking over a year since he died of a heart attack aged 31.
The 53-year-old television personality was left heartbroken by the death her son, who was the founder of the YouTube channel SBTV which was responsible for helping launch the careers of some of the UK's biggest stars, including Dave and Ed Sheeran.
In the third episode on 13 April, Capital FM Breakfast DJ and TV personality Roman Kemp will speak frankly about the impact of the death of his best friend, Joe Lyons, who died by suicide in 2020, has had on him.
The 30-year-old star said he contemplated suicide and has experienced depression since he was 15 years old.
And for the final episode on 20 April, Jordan Stephens - who occasionally appears on Love Island: Aftersun and hosts Don’t Hate the Playaz - will raise awareness of mental health through the IAMWHOLE campaign which encourages young people to ‘speak out, seek help, get support’.
He will talk about how repressed feelings about the death of his beloved Gran led to him having a breakdown.
If you have been affected by the contents of this article or are struggling in any way call Samaritans for free on 116 123 or visit samaritans.org.
MTV FACES premieres on the MTV YouTube channel on 30th March will air weekly.