Yewande Biala has released a statement regarding her feud with Lucie Donlan. The pair have been back and forth across social media in recent weeks after Lucie made claims that Yewande had ‘bullied’ her whilst they appeared on Love Island in 2019.
Yewande then slammed Lucie for refusing to learn how to say her name correctly. To explain this further, Yewande has released a lengthy statement which we have decided to print here in full as it is so powerful, and explains how this is about far more than ‘just’ a name.
She began by describing how this mis-naming started long before she appeared on the show, it’s something she has dealt with her entire life; “I think one of my earliest memories of racialized re-naming was when I was exploring different secondary schools. One of the schools I was interested in, btw I didn’t end up going, asked me for my full name. Which is, Yewande Elizabeth Biala.”
“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. In that moment all I heard was that I didn’t matter, and I 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.”
Yewande continued; “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 ethnic origins may be seen as an inconvenience”
“Examples of name-based micro-aggressions include giving unwanted nicknames.”
Here Yewande begins to explain why Lucie asking to ‘call her something else’ whilst on Love Island was so upsetting.
“As I become older and developed my multi-cultural competence, I decided to stop trying to make others comfortable at my own expense.”
“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.”
She continued; “You, as an oppressor, have stripped me of my identity, you’ve taken my power in choosing how I want to be addressed.”
Speaking further about exactly what happened on the reality show between her and Lucie, Yewande 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 3 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.”
“Being black on TV means not raising your voice, not being too defensive, because you don’t want to create the narrative of being an angry black woman or being a bully. I am not a bully, it’s such a huge accusation and one that should be handled very seriously.”
“And lastly, I encourage 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.”
Up until now Lucie has explained that comments from the show which have resurfaced are from over a year ago. A screenshot of Lucie saying Yewande bullied her emerged on social media and it’s caused quite a stir among several of the former Love Island contestants.
“These are really old comments dug up purely to incite a row between two females,” Lucie told MailOnline.
The 23-year-old went on to say that this isn’t important in the grand scheme of things; “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.”
The reality star added: “I regret how just a few old comments sent 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?”
Speaking more specifically about the difficulty she had with Yewande’s name on the show, she explained; “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.”
Lucie is yet to respond to Yewande’s statement.