Love Island's Yewande Biala claims 'mispronouncing names is racist'

‘Say my name, it IS important’: Love Island’s Yewande Biala claims ‘mispronunciation is another form of racism’ amid feud with Lucie Donlan

Love Island star Yewande Biala has penned a piece claiming that ‘mispronouncing names is another form of racism’ following her spat with former co-star Lucie Donlan.

The Love Island star, 25, detailed her experience of fearing others attempting to pronounce her name from a young age before being reminded by her family to own her title with pride.

It comes after Yewande penned a statement appearing to brand Lucie, 22, an ‘oppressor’ and claimed she had ‘stripped her of her identity’ by asking to call her by another name, after the pair’s secret feud emerged last week.

Outspoken: Love Island star Yewande Biala has penned a piece claiming that ‘mispronouncing names is another form of racism’ following her spat with former co-star Lucie Donlan

In a piece for The Independant, Yewande detailed the anxiety she felt waiting for teachers to say her name when she was young, revealing one took five months to learn how to say it correctly.

The star admitted she told her mother she was planning to give her children ‘European names’ before being told that there was ‘power’ in accepting and using her own name with pride. 

Yewande explained the definition of ‘microaggression’ before claiming it is a form of oppression that enforces the differences between two groups. 

At odds: The reality star’s secret feud with Lucie (pictured) came to light last week, when the surfer claimed Yewande ‘bullied’ her

She added: ‘When someone doesn’t take the time to learn the proper way to pronounce another person’s name, or worse – intentionally mocks it for being ”too difficult” to pronounce, or tries to ascribe another name to make themselves feel comfortable – it can come across as malicious.

‘There is a longstanding history of forced assimilation as a way to maintain the power structure. Dominant groups dismissing certain names as ”too hard” is tied to racism and other forms of oppression.’

Yewande ended her piece: ‘So, when you address me, say my name – ”Yewande” – and yes, it is important.’ 

On Saturday Yewande released a statement addressing the race row she’d been embroiled in with former co-star Lucie after the surfer said she had received death threats over her comments.

The scientist appeared to brand Lucie, an ‘oppressor’ and claimed she had ‘stripped her of her identity’ by asking to call her by another name, which she described as a case of ‘racialized renaming’. 

Defiant: In the piece Yewande explained the definition of ‘microaggression’ before claiming it is a form of oppression that enforces the differences between two groups

Yewande soon hit back and alleged that the reality personality refused to call her by her real name because she was ‘unable to pronounce it’, as she dismissed bullying claims.

Detailing her feelings on the topic, Yewande wrote in a lengthy social media post on Saturday: ‘As an oppressor, you stripped me on my identity and power’.

Reflecting on her previous experiences of racialized renaming, which she claimed is a microaggression, she said: ‘I think of my earlier memories of racialized renaming was when I was exploring different secondary schools. 

‘One of the schools I was interest in, btw I didn’t end up going, asked me for my full name. After having difficulties pronouncing my name, she went forward and asked if we could just put it down as Elizabeth Biala, as it would be easier for everyone.

Row: It came after the star penned a statement appearing to brand Lucie an ‘oppressor’ and claimed she had ‘stripped her of her identity’ by asking to call her by another name

‘In the moment all I heard was that I didn’t matter, and was an inconvenience. From that day I made it my mission to make sure people knew my name was important, after all that is my identity.’

In the statement shared on her Twitter and Instagram pages, Yewande added: ‘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.

‘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 ethic origins may be seen as an inconvenience.’

Going on to reveal that the experience left her feeling like she never wanted to feel like an inconvenience again, Yewande continued: 

‘Examples of name-based micro-aggressions include giving an unwanted nickname. As I became older and developed my multicultural competence, I decided to stop trying to make others comfortable at my own expense.


Detailing her feelings on the topic, Yewande wrote in a lengthy social media post on Saturday: ‘As an oppressor, you stripped me on my identity and power’

‘It’s important to recognise that asking for a nickname can feel invalidating, it makes me feel like an inconvenience also ascribing a nickname to a person or participating in racialized re-naming, can be distressing.

Appearing to address Lucie directly, she said: ‘You as an oppressor, you have stripped me of my identity, you’ve taken my power in choosing how I want to be addressed.’

‘I correct her multiple times, I didn’t mind, because you are going to get it right. There was a moment just before challenge.

‘This was after 3 weeks in. She mispronounced my names, 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.

‘Incredibly scary’: Lucie has received death threats after her feud with Yewande escalated into a race row

‘Being black on TV means not rising your voice, not being too defensive, because you don’t want to create the narrative of being an angry black woman or a bully.

‘I am not a bully, it’s such a huge accusation and one that should should be handled very seriously.’ 

‘And lastly, I encouraged everyone to be aware of racialized renaming and name-based teasing. I think we should all be working towards being better advocates and creating a different dynamic around these narratives.’ 

Lucie Donlan’s representatives have been contacted by MailOnline for comment. 

Yewande’s comments come after she revealed she has been bombarded with messages accusing her of racism following the discovery of old Instagram comments by social media site Reddit in which she claimed Yewande ‘bullied’ her.

Scientist Yewande hit back on Monday evening, accusing the blonde of refusing to pronounce her name correctly on the show and co-star Amber Gill also weighed in, branding Lucie a ‘bitch and a liar’ for her allegations.

Opinion: Scientist Yewande hit back on Monday evening, accusing the blonde of refusing to pronounce her name correctly on the show

Speaking to MailOnline, Lucie was determined to put an end to the feud and was adamant her inability to pronounce Yewande’s name in a challenge was an ‘accident.’

Lucie said: ‘These are really old comments dug up purely to incite a row between two females.

‘In this day and age and with everything going on in the world, we should all be sticking together not attacking each other.

‘I’ve been sent death threats which are incredibly scary as you can imagine.

‘I said on the show I had trouble pronouncing Yewande’s name, it’s just what I’m like.

‘And I asked if I could use a shortened abbreviated version of her name instead as a term of endearment – there’s nothing sinister to it.

‘I regret how just a few old comments said 18 months ago has snowballed like this and got out of hand, and drummed up some needless negativity.

‘Can we all just move on from this please?’

Former co-stars: Lucie and Yewande appeared on Love Island together in 2019 alongside Amy Hart and winner Amber Gill, who have both commented in defence of Yewande this week 

The Instagram messages unearthed by Reddit were from sent shortly after the completion of the series in which Lucie and Yewande appeared.

They contained comments from Lucie that she was ‘not bothered’ about the opinion of the Irish star after she allegedly branded her boring on the ITV2 show.

A fan had asked Lucie ‘how do you feel about Yewande saying you’re a horrible person?’

The Cornwall-born model replied: ‘She’s always bullied me. 

‘I’m not bothered by her opinion… makes her look bad. Not sure where she said that though!’

Yewande hit back with accusations of her own, claiming Lucie refused to use her name in the villa as it was ‘too hard to pronounce.’

Taking to Twitter, Yewande wrote: ‘You refused to call me by my name because it was too ‘hard to pronounce’ now you wanna say I bullied you !! Bullied.’

Co-star Amber, who won the series of the show, backed up Yewande, saying : ‘Na when she said can I call you ‘Y’ I said lol no you can’t can I just call you ‘her’ you were peaceful in that exchange It was me with the vim.’ 

‘There’s so much you don’t see’: Amy defended Yewande on Monday, calling her friend a ‘beautiful and respectful queen’ and claimed a lot more has gone on behind the scenes

Underneath a post of UKGossipTV’s Instagram, which detailed the back and forth between the parties, Amber wrote: ‘Cut me a f**king break man…

‘You know that b***h lying, Yewande is one of the quietist [motherf**kers] I ever met AND it’s almost two years later and we are not over it it man it’s boring’.

Another Islander in the series Amy Hart also jumped to Yewande’s defence, writing on Twitter: ‘I bit my tongue today, tomorrow may be different. My final thought of the evening, this beautiful,mrespectful QUEEN has sat on this for almost two years…

‘We haven’t spoken about it publicly because it was Yewande’s story to tell. I remember dates, times, locations of every conversation in that villa. There’s so much you don’t see.’

‘I’m yelling, I don’t care’: Love Island 2019 winner Amber spoke out on the feud, tweeting on Monday that she refuses to stay quiet if she ‘sees something false’ about a friend 

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