Love Island: Does the show have a race, age and body diversity problem?

Love Island says it’s committed to diversity, but Newsbeat has been taking a look at the debate so far.

‘Where are the south Asian women?’

More than 85,000 people applied for Love Island this year.

With such a huge number of singletons to choose from, some fans have questioned why the majority of the contestants picked for the villa have been white.

Viewers especially criticised the show for a lack of diversity when 12 new contestants arrived on 28 June.

Some felt producers had missed an opportunity to bring people into Love Island who represent a range of ethnicities.

Paula Akpan, director of the Black Girl Festival and social media editor at Gal-Dem, says racial diversity on Love Island is “severely lacking”.

“How can you have no south Asian women on the show?” she says.

“I think if they’re seeking to represent the nation or seeking to showcase the different people who generally fall in love or date one another, then Love Island needs to be casting the net wider and it needs to be something that they think about more going forward.”

Figures from the 2011 census show 14% of the population in England and Wales have an ethnic minority background.

The debate around race and diversity in Love Island has very much focused on contestant Samira – who walked out of the show on Thursday.

She struggled to find love in the villa and when six new men showed up – not one chose her in the top three women they were attracted to.

In contrast, some of the female contestants have described their type as “mixed-race men”.

Paula says Samira’s experience is a reflection of what dating is like for some black women and is a “difficult watch”.

“It’s very real for every black woman watching it because it’s something that you become quite used to, especially when you’re in white-dominated spaces.

“You often know that you won’t be seen as a person who’s attractive especially when you’re compared to other beautiful women on the show who embody the Eurocentric ideals.”

Last Tuesday, new singleton Idris entered the villa – but some viewers thought it was a cynical attempt by producers to address an issue that’s been around for weeks.

The full article can be found here:

Written By: Cherry Wilson & Kamilah McInnis

First Published 16.07.18

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