She sees her own experience repeated with Yewande this year.
Love Island’s Samira Mighty has criticised the show for failing its black contestants, comparing her experience to that of new Islander Yewande Biale.
Speaking to The Mail on Sunday, Samira spoke about her experience as the only black woman on last year’s show, and the toll repeatedly being picked last or not being picked at all took on her self-esteem.
I was obviously the token [black woman] on the show, it was easy to work that out. I only had to look at the line of girls when I arrived at the villa. There was nobody else who looked like me. ITV are desperate to be diverse, but that is coming across in a way that is quite unfortunate for them.
Samira says she can see this being repeated this year with Yewande, the 23-year-old scientist from Dublin who has been having trouble finding love in the villa.
She believes the producers haven’t tried hard enough to find contestants who “like black girls”, leaving Yewande to “stand there” as the rest of the Islanders coupled up around her.
“She is the only black girl, and has had little interest from the men, who seem to like blonde white girls with big boobs – or any screen time as a result,” she told the newspaper. “When none of the black contestants were chosen last week, I thought, how on earth is this happening again?”
It’s worth remembering that Sherif, the only dark-skinned black man on the show this year, was also picked last in the initial ‘coupling up’ ceremony. Viewers (including former Islander Marcel Somerville) tweeted their thoughts on the pattern that has been emerging over the past few seasons:
This is mad!!!! #LoveIsland flash backs! Black guy, black girl and mixed race guy all left unpicked. Mad!!!
— Marcel Somerville (@marcel_rockyb) June 3, 2019
I only just noticed this..
Series 2 – Malin was picked last…
Series 3 – Marcel was picked last…
Series 4 – Samira was picked last….
Series 5 – Yewande was picked last..
qWHITE interesting that ?? #LoveIsland
— Benny James (@Beno_ldn) June 3, 2019
Samira’s criticisms echo a growing awareness of subtle (and not so subtle) racism amongst Love Island contestants, grounded in colourism – prejudice against people with a dark skin tone, sometimes among people of the same ethnic or racial group.
Last year, both Ellie Brown and Georgia Steel said their ‘type’ was mixed-race men, something writer Fedora Abu believes is not a compliment:
It’s a desire to taste blackness, but in its most palatable form. It’s a fascination with what’s ‘exotic’ but not too unfamiliar. It’s a preference for lighter skin over dark.
Current Islander Amber Gill (who is mixed-race herself) was embroiled in a racism row before she even entered the villa after proclaiming she “doesn’t like black guys” on Instagram. And just last night, viewers called out Molly-Mae Hague for describing new contestant Danny as ‘baby daddy material’.
Molly mae needs to go ?
It’s like a trend to have a black or mixed “baby daddy“ especially from the another race. We’re not accessories✋?#loveisland
— KIA ? (@forevakiax) June 10, 2019
— vic sanusi (@victoriasanusi) June 10, 2019
In a statement to The Mail on Sunday, an ITV spokesperson said they “celebrate diversity of every sort and this year’s Love Islanders come from a diverse range of background with a mix of personalities.”
Samira acknowledges that the issue cannot be blamed completely on race, adding that Yewande needs more airtime to allow us to get to know her.
However, writing for gal-dem.com, Habiba Katsha says that watching Samira on Love Island was ‘painful’ for many black girls, who recognised in her their own awkward and uncomfortable dating experiences.
It would be simplistic to say that all the men who entered the villa didn’t find Samira attractive because she was black. But it would also be foolish to ignore how race plays a huge role in the dating world…
I would be more than happy to see black women on Love Island if the fellow contestants were open to dating black women, but as we’ve seen time and time again most of the men on the show go for blonde, blue-eyed girls.