We’ve been on quite the whirlwind journey with Kyler (Picture: ITV)
And seriously, all the odds were against them.
Kyler, as fans have affectionately dubbed them, got off to a pretty easy start after Tyler entered the villa as a bombshell and made it clear he only had eyes for Kaz, who had so far been unlucky in finding a romantic connection.
Casa Amor then put a spanner in the middle of their romance as Tyler returned to the main villa with Clarisse Juliette while Kaz chose to recouple with Matthew McNabb. Fortunately, Kyler eventually found their way back to each other and have been going strong since.
However, outside of their love bubble in the villa, Kaz has been subjected to the most disgusting levels of racism simply for being Black. She’s certainly made one or two missteps during her time on the show but nothing more than is par for the course on the Love Island experience and would warrant abuse.
So yes, we’ve been on quite the whirlwind journey with Kyler, which is why it feels almost like a vindication that they’ve not only made it to the final, but are the first Black couple to do so in Love Island UK history. Kaz is also the first dark-skinned Black woman to make it to the last hurdle.
Regardless, it’s hard to escape the fact it’s taken seven years for a Black couple to make the endgame.
The couple have come up against the odds (Picture: ITV2)
We have seen Black or mixed-race individuals reach the final episode on Love Island UK, with Amber Gill winning in 2019, while Luke Trotman and Ched Uzor made the final in the 2020 winter series.
However, we’ve only seen interracial partnerships and not any representation of Black couples – for those thinking of Mike Boateng and Priscilla Anyabu, they narrowly missed out on the final after being dumped the week before.
In general, Love Island hasn’t done a good job of ensuring Black couples are represented at all, let alone get to the final. Mike and Priscilla’s romance – aside from when he was earlier coupled up with Leanne Amaning – was really the first time we’d seen a full Black couple have a positive journey on the show.
I felt represented on a personal level and thought perhaps Love Island’s inclusivity was changing for the better. But then Kaz became the fourth Black woman not picked in the first coupling of the current series and it felt like more of the same, a return to old habits.
ITV has been approached about how they ensure dating preferences are equal in the casting stages but they are yet to provide specific information on this. It would be useful to know the efforts they are taking in making sure the islanders would find a woman of colour attractive in the first place.
It’s not just the Black community – how many Asian contestants have we seen or even Asian couples?
Love Island is a dating show targeted at millennials and Gen-Z, two of the most diverse generations in the country, yet it’s taken seven series for a Black couple to make the final.
It speaks volumes about how outdated the show really is in 2021. Other dating programmes such as Too Hot To Handle and Love Is Blind seem to nail diversity without a second thought, while Love Island appears to be afraid to embrace a complete overhaul.
Therefore, to be clear, while I hope Kaz and Tyler win and split the prize money, I don’t expect it to happen. This may sound cynical, that it’s difficult to think Kyler has as good a chance as the other couples of winning, but the reality is they don’t.
Could they become the first Black couple to win Love Island UK (Picture: ITV)
Somehow, the small hiccup in their relationship where they explored other options is deemed worse than Liam Reardon actually kissing another woman in Casa Amor after being coupled up with Millie Court for several weeks.
The only thing that tops this is Faye Winter sailing through to the final with boyfriend Teddy Soares despite her outrageous, expletive-filled tirade against him that drew a record-breaking 24,000 Ofcom complaints. However, a quick look at social media and online comments and you’d think Kaz and Tyler were the worst of them all, while the other islanders’ behaviour has either been forgotten or forgiven.
Again, it just goes to show how Black contestants are often treated when they appear on the show.
So yes, on the one hand, it feels like vindication that Kyler has reached the final with all the odds stacked against them. They may be the first Black couple in a Love Island final but will there be a next, and when?
Tonight’s a big night for Kyler whether they win or not but, even more importantly, it’s an opportunity for Love Island bosses to look at why it’s taken so long and what that says about their franchise as a whole.
Credit: Original article published here.