January 22, 2020
British media is reluctant to feature one black person in a romantic relationship, let alone two. No wonder Leanne Amaning and Mike Boateng are trending
Why a black couple on Love Island has caused a happy hysteria
Black Twitter is all aflutter about Love Island’s Leanne Amaning and Mike Boateng, the show’s first black couple. The lovebirds have had the hashtag #BlackLove trending, their his’n’hers durag and wig cap combo have delighted viewers and many a meme of their imagined traditional Ghanaian wedding has been mocked up. All this and it has not even been a fortnight.
The hysteria over the budding romance perhaps looks excessive. But the #BlackLove hashtag long predates their dating and for good reason: it is something the media is not particularly invested in portraying, especially in the UK. This is why H&M’s campaign featuring the footballer Raheem Sterling, his black fiancee, Paige Milian, and their children was a welcome gift when it landed last Christmas. It has been more than 30 years since the black British sitcom Desmond’s first aired, and while the US continues to roll out family sitcoms such as Black-ish and its spin-offs, Grown-ish and Mixed-ish, we aren’t much closer to our own “Black Brit-ish” equivalent. When attempting to portray diverse couples, the media is hesitant to feature one black person, let alone two; interracial romance being seen as able to depict aspiration in a way that a black couple – without a white participant – isn’t.
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