Yewande Biala calls out fellow Love Island contestant Lucie Donlan for ‘racialised renaming’

TV personality shared her thoughts on the importance of names as she claimed Donlan failed to pronounce hers correctly on multiple occasions

Roisin O'Connor
Saturday 23 January 2021 12:56 GMT
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Love Island star Yewande Biala has posted a lengthy statement about her experience on series five of the reality show, amid a row over fellow contestant Lucie Donlan’s behaviour.

Earlier this month, Biala, 23, hit back against an apparent claim by Donlan that she had “bullied” her during the TV contest.

Donlan reportedly made the claim in an Instagram comment that was shared on Reddit and on social media.  

The 21-year-old allegedly commented: “[Yewande]’s always bullied me, I’m not bothered about her opinion…makes her look bad. Not sure where she said that though!”  

In response, Biala raised an incident where Donlan asked her if she could refer to her by a different name because she supposedly found “Yewande” difficult to pronounce.

In the new statement, the TV personality said she had experienced multiple instances of “racialised re-naming”, with one of her earliest memories of it taking place while she was visiting different secondary schools.

“Names are prominent identifiers that can often tell the story of one’s ethnicity and cultural background. My name means mother coming back, and I love it,” Biala wrote.

“There is a tendency for White European names and whiteness in general to be perceived as normative, whereas racial minorities with names of religious and ethnic origins may be seen as an inconvenience.”

Biala went on to explain that, as she grew older, she made the decision to “stop trying to make others uncomfortable at my own expense”.

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Apparently directly addressing the feud with Donlan, Biala continued: “I corrected her multiple times, I didn’t mind, because you are going to get it right.

“There was a moment just before a challenge. This was after three weeks in. She mispronounced my name, I correct her again and her reply was ‘yeah whatever you know what I mean’. I remember one of the producers putting her arms around me.”

Biala said that “being black on TV means not rising [sic] your voice, not being too defensive, because you don’t want to [enforce] the narrative of being an angry black woman or being a bully”.

Yewande Biala (left) has responded after her fellow former Love Island contestant Lucie Donlan appeared to accuse Biala of bullying her during the show

She concluded her post by asking people to “be aware of radicalised renaming and name-based teasing”.

“I think we should all be working towards being better advocates and creating a different dynamic around these narratives,” she said.

She added that the statement was the last comment she would issue on the situation involving Donlan.

Several of her Love Island co-stars, including the series winner Amber Gill, have supported Biala during the row.

The Independent has contacted Donlan’s representative for comment.

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