Love Island is back and although the lead-up to the show’s highly anticipated arrival drummed up a national wave of excitement, its opening fortnight has prompted mixed emotions in viewers. Not only did a brutal dumping on day two send many into a frenzy (I mean, what even was that?) but the cast’s chemistry has been slightly underwhelming to say the least. Nonetheless, maintaining its cultural relevance as always is the collective discourse taking place online. And who better to credit this to than the powerful force that is Black Twitter?
As we’ve seen in previous years, the weight of Black Twitter’s commentary alone can make or break a show. Who can forget the cultural impact the online community generated for Bird Box in 2018? Not only did the film secure the highest opening week figure for a Netflix original at the time with over 45 million streams but even Netflix couldn’t deny the pivotal role its Black audience had in boosting the film’s digital success.
While Bird Box is the most widely documented example, it’s not the only one. Across the board, we’ve seen this trend play out with Netflix’s pick-up of Girlfriends, Love is Blind, this year’s Too Hot to Handle and, of course, Love Island. Don’t just take my word for it – it’s all in the numbers. In 2020, data scientist Chris Schon revealed that during the winter series of the reality show, seven of the top 10 #LoveIsland hashtag users with the highest engagement on Twitter were Black British. Six placed higher than the show's official Twitter page.
Now, following the emergence and growing usage of other digital mediums, we’re seeing these discussions spill outside the realm of Twitter and onto newer platforms including Clubhouse and TikTok. From calling out ongoing issues with the show in relation to race and colourism to providing pure banter, memes and enjoyable takes, here are the essential Love Island Black commentators leading this year's conversation.