The Unapologetic Black Love Story of Love Island’s Justine Ndiba and Caleb Corprew

Love Island Season II Winners, Justine Ndiba & Caleb Corprew.
Love Island Season II Winners, Justine Ndiba & Caleb Corprew.

The summer of 2020 will be remembered as a year of pain, suffering, and unrest in the call for justice with the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd forever etched on the psyche. Black people had to oscillate between living with the stark reality of what it means to Black in this country while simultaneously finding moments of love and joy. This duality is hard to reconcile, and often comes in ways one least expects.

In September, as summer wound down, such an experience happened as we witnessed the historic win of Justine Ndiba and Caleb Corprew, who became the first Black couple to win on CBS’ reality TV show, Love Island. Yes, the sole Black couple on the island were responsible for bringing joy into our hearts, as they were the definition of #couplegoals. In an industry that all too often portrays Black people stereotypically, playing up to hyper-sexualized archetypes of Black men, or presenting Black women, specifically dark-skinned women, as romantically undesirable, Justine and Caleb, our Queen and King of the Villa, reminded us of why visibly seeing Black love unapologetically represented on television is long overdue and deserves to be celebrated. In an exclusive interview with the beautiful couple, they each reflect upon their Love Island experience, life outside of the villa, and…


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US Capitol Insurrection-January 6th, 2021

January 6th, 2021 will be remembered as one of the darkest moments in American history. I watched in dismay as domestic terrorists stormed the people’s house, the US Capitol, an insurrection on American soil. I watched as a violent mob pushed through barricades, scaling walls, smashing windows, making it inside of a federal building. An egregious act at the request of a demagogue seated in the office of the president.

This blatant display of disrespect-a sea of whiteness, moving effortlessly without consequence or impunity. …


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Last week marked the six anniversary of when Tamir Rice was murdered by police in Ohio for playing with a toy gun. Tamir was only 12 years old. 12. Many of us may remember 12 as a magical time of wonder and surprise. A time in which we dreamed, discovered, and began to come into our own. In mythology, the number 12 is symbolic, representative of perfection — the demarcation line between childhood and adolescence. The final age of innocence. A kind of innocence that Tamir Rice and so many other young Black boys are never granted.

I often think about what the national discourse would be like present day on race, police brutality, and racism had this tragic event not been brushed off as an isolated event or anomaly, as opposed to a part of a larger systemic crisis deserving of the nation’s attention and care. …


Illustration: Marcus Torres
Illustration: Marcus Torres

On the night of the election as the nation awaited the results, I went to bed with a deep pit in my stomach. I was uneasy because the 2020 presidential election was too close for my comfort. Although a projected winner had yet to be announced, sweeping across America was one clear winner. And, that winner is whiteness.

Whiteness convinced over 70 million people to vote in favor of an administration that has gone on record for being unapologetically racist. Yes, that tried-and-true racism harkening back to the days of Jim Crow that my grandparents navigated in the deep South. With specificity, this distinct brand of whiteness marks its territory of superiority over any and everything and signals that it must be protected at all costs. …


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Two summers ago in graduate school, one of my male classmates, Tom, noticed my hand had been raised for several minutes waiting to be called on by our male professor. Seeing the exasperation on my face, he interrupted and said, “I think we should hear from Ralinda, I know I can learn from what she has to say.” Tom’s deliberate gesture in choosing to center my voice was significant, as it underscored the importance of how men can help to amplify female voices in settings where male voices tend to dominate the conversation.

As we continue to gather remotely for meetings via Zoom, the centering of male voices persists, contributing to the muting of female voices, where our perspective, experiences, and ideas are left out of the discussion. If female voices are to be amplified, it is imperative that men step up for women, just as my male classmate, Tom, did for me. To support a more equitable meeting environment, here are four tips to amplify female voices on…


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In one of largest movements for racial justice amidst a global pandemic, I have noticed that many social media feeds are returning back to “normal.” A return to selfies, skin care tutorials, food photos, and everything in between. No judgement, just an observation of the direction we are headed in — backwards, into silence. Companies, brands, schools, organizations and individuals who posted black squares in June are now silent, on the things that matter most. Yet, when we think about the seminal moments of hate and trauma that rocked us to our core are the loudest. Waking up to news of Walter Wallace, a mentally ill Black man being killed by police as his mother begged for them not to shoot — the summer of 2020 and the seeing the video of George Floyd, or that Breonna Taylor was sleep in her home as she was shot multiple times with no aid rendered — these are loud moments. This got me to thinking: if those moments are so loud, and created such a booming and unavoidable impact on our consciousness, why isn’t our change just as loud? The silent “activism” of our time can be seen through the lenses of organizations, corporations, and schools that have released statements and promises to do better, however, we have yet to see these words put into action. Attempts like these seem to hold a space from the perspective of “yes, I want change to happen, but I’m afraid of offending, angering, and provoking the other side ” The line between systemic change and temporary trend-following becomes blurred. To combat the flimsiness of trend following in order to create lasting change, the change has to be loud. It has to be bold, courageous, and willing to risk something. If we are going to make a change, it can’t be one that is meant to soothe or make others feel comfortable. When you’re a person who is advocating for change, comfort cannot be your goal. Critical and often uncomfortable questions to challenge people are imperative to this process. The status quo can only be knocked out of its seat if we are to do more than gently nudge for the change we seek. That being said, we are naturally socialized to play it safe in the comfort zone, defaulting to what we know or what we have always done. There is a duality to this knowing: we know that there are systems at play that create unfair and inequitable advantages and disadvantages, but some of us have come to accept this as “normal.” When we accept this as our normal, it becomes even more challenging to change these systems of oppression. …


In predominantly white institutions, Black girls are often left out of the narrative when decisions are made on who receives resources and support.

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In direct response to the global pandemic and schools transitioning to remote learning, recently, there has been a surge in conversations at the intersection of mental health and Black girls. It is evident that school communities need to think critically about what resources they are providing to help support Black girls as they navigate the realities of racial trauma in their everyday life. At school, Black girls are the target of racialized experiences, negatively impacting their emotional safety and well-being. …


For Black women, Self-Care Sunday has not only become a trending hashtag but an obligatory necessity in order to survive 2020. As the twin pandemics of Covid-19 and systemic racism continue to disproportionately impact Black women, now more than ever, self-care serves as both our rest and resistance in the pursuit of self-love.

In her new book, After the Rain, Author and Self-Care Facilitator, Alex Elle, helps to redefine what it means to be at true peace with our individual growth and transformation. She benevolently echoes the value of loving up on ourselves, including being self-forgiving, even when our healing process may feel too slow in comparison to the grind culture that we have become accustomed to. Elle encourages us to take all the time we need to heal our bodies, hearts, and minds. …


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The year is 2020. And, we are in mourning. Another Black man has died. Another Black man gone too soon-taken suddenly from us without cause or concern. Another Black father, son, brother, husband, friend, leader, and hero is gone.

I remember when Black Panther was first released and the immense sense of joy and pride that so many of us felt after viewing this masterpiece on the screen. Wakanda was real and it was ours.

It was the first time we saw ourselves and imagined the possibilities of what it meant to be uncolonized, unchained; free from bondage and subjugation.

That Monday after the opening weekend of the film, I vividly remember how we all walked into our respective spaces a little taller, braver, prouder; our chests fully extended and out for the world to see! …


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I’m from Los Angeles-curfews are not new to me.

The violent beating of Rodney King captured on film. An example of police brutality against Black bodies. One of the impetus for the unrest. 28 years later…..not much has changed.

1992 was the year that guns were drawn on me for the first time as a young girl. You know what else is not new to me-RACISM. I experience it everyday; the covert, overt, insidious, and everything in between. …

About

Ralinda Watts

Diversity expert, consultant, creative, and writer. #LAmade #ColumbiaEducated #RalindaSpeaks, the podcast. Let’s be in conversation.

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