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Do Black Women Have A Place On UK Reality TV Shows?

Samira has quit Love Island and to be honest, I’m not surprised. For the past 39 days, we’ve all watched her struggle to build potential romantic relationships with the boys in the villa, let alone find love and to most of the ethnic viewership that wasn’t anything new. Having recently ‘found love’ with Frankie, Samira was on cloud nine but of course, what fun would it be to see a black woman happy? Frankie was dumped by the viewers from the Island last week after receiving the lowest public vote.

I can’t help but question why the producers never fully aired Samira and Frankie’s to its fullest extent. It's as if the producers didn’t want the audience to be emotionally invested in Samira or her “love story” considering the last five weeks have been somewhat tragic for her. Are we only allowed to enjoy Samira when she’s being mugged off, upset or desperately trying to bag someone? It would seem that way. Despite her actually finding love towards the end of her journey, none of that was shown on television.

If Samira quitting solidified anything, it’s that black women and women of color on UK reality television are not given a fair shot. Yes, reality television can be problematic in general, but even more problematic when it features women of a darker skin tone. It’s clear from watching shows like ITV2’s Love Island and BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, that when it comes to black women and women of colour, we see the rejections, coded language and microaggressions being played out and all it does is reaffirm to us women of color that we are seen as being hyper-visible and invisible all at once.