In honor of Black History Month is lecture Black reality show contestants to reveal what it’s adoring being a minority on TV. Lauren Speed wasn’t won’t to seeing fairy tale romances when she applied to be a contestant on Love Is Blind. In case you missed it last year Netflix’s hit reality dating series invited 30 singles to seek out out if love is basically well blind by asking them so far and obtain engaged before ever laying eyes on each other.

I didn’t believe happening The Bachelor before that very reason because just being transparent, once I watched The Bachelor I didn’t really see myself represented Speed explained to News. You know you do not see tons of Black women making it to the top or I didn’t see women who represented me so I never even thought to continue there because I didn’t see myself there. Representation means everything.

And the fan response to Speeds journey on Love Is Blind proves how important representation is, with the 34-year-old becoming the Netflix hit’s breakout star quickly after its debut on Feb. 13, 2020. Now, one year later, Speed is that the most-followed person from the sew Instagram with 2.3 million followers and features a popular with husband Cameron Hamilton.

Yep, Speed found her happily ever after on reality TV, delivering a romance streamed around the world. But how she and her journey were depicted was even as important to hurry, whose book Leap of religion which she co-wrote with Hamilton, hits bookshelves in June. Let me just say initially happening Love Is Blind it had been so important on behalf of me to be myself because I had seen actually shows within the past numerous times that Black women were depicted as catty or simply quite eager to start fights and things like that, Speed said. I don’t really see myself represented in reality.

And for Speed, representation meant quite just seeing a Black woman find love on television. it had been seeing a spread of Black women on reality TV, generally. While she acknowledged the importance of Rachel Lindsay’s groundbreaking turn as the first graphite within the Bachelor franchise in 2017 Speed believed viewers connected with her on Love Is Blind because they saw themselves reflected through someone like her a self-described quirky Black girl trying to find love.

Speed commended Netflix and production company Kinetic Content for really holding faithful to her character saying They didn’t attempt to edit it to form extra drama or anything like that. With Love is Blind and its success I do not desire that’s something that was seen often it had been rare she continued. And I feel that everybody was really excited especially Black women and ladies of color really rallied around that, so that was amazing. The overwhelmingly positive response to hurry and Hamilton’s romance, especially on social media is unfortunately, a rarity within the reality TV landscape, which has long had a serious divide when it involves white contestants and cast members of color. which may have something to try to do with the broad audience a streaming service like Netflix is in a position to succeed in, consistent with MTV reality star Leroy Garrett who has competed on 12 seasons of The Challenge after first appearing on the important World: Las Vegas in 2011.

The Challenge’s fanbase is predominantly white, Garrett told E! News. If you’ve got VH1, it’s predominantly Black which is where the divide comes in. That’s just how it goes if I’m on the network that is the demographic that they cater to. that is the way it’s getting to compute. It definitely sucks that it’s that way, but I desire it’s recuperating. Mike Johnson, a Bachelorette and Bachelor’s in Paradise alum, pointed to Lindsay’s lower number of Instagram followers compared to other newer Bachelorettes and even Bachelor contestants, all of them white.

That contrast, Johnson said, is common within the longrunning franchise, and he pointed to the Love Is Blind pair specifically as an example of what viewers are responding thereto the Netflix series showcased Their authentic connection and conversations about the realities of being an interracial couple. People like to see that because we’ve not before, Johnson noted. The reason that Lauren and Cameron have such an enormous following is that they’re faithful themselves, he continued. They aren’t digestible per se. they’re just exactly who they are as God intended them to be and that is beautiful.

Pointing to their impressive followings across various social media platforms, Johnson said the numbers are proving that that is what we would like to ascertain. Speed even admitted to being “pleasantly surprised by the response she and Cameron received on social media throughout and after Love Is Blind’s three-week run.

We’ve really been blessed therein way, and I am grateful for the love she said. You know what, I used to be pleasantly surprised. I mean you usually hope. Like, I hope that folks can see themselves in me or they know somebody who will relate somehow. That’s to not say Love Is Blind still doesn’t have tons of labor to try to do when it involves diversity and representation with Speed remarking a serious disparity within the makeup of the season one cast.

Initially, once we started there were actually a pleasant few Black women. Unfortunately, many of them didn’t make it and didn’t make connections with the bloke’s Speed detail. But on the men’s side I think that there are only two Black men out of 15 men so I do think that that was definitely disproportionate especially because it had been filmed in Atlanta. Atlanta features a batch of Black people. there have been only two Black men so that was quite shocking to me.

Speed continued that she wished it had been more equal thereon front and added it would are nice to possess more Black men or men of color, noting there have been not any Asian men and Mark Cuevas was the sole Latino man within the cast. I’m telling you, it wasn’t tons of individuals of color on the men’s side, she explained, even for ladies, there wasn’t Asian or it wasn’t that big of a mix up so that can definitely be improved.

Moving forward, Speed would really like to ascertain, additionally to more cast members of color on the series, which has been renewed for 2 more seasons and within the truth TV genre in general, is a variation within the depiction of BIPOC contestants, especially Black women. I desire the media always depicts this sassy smart mouth Black woman which you recognize hey it’s many black women like that Speed said. I have that side also but you recognize there’s also, like, the goofy quirky Issa Raes and other people like that so I might just like to see you know just a few more sort of black women. that might be amazing.

A unique experience for Black contestants on reality dating series is that the pressure, sometimes unspoken, to finish up with another Black. Lindsay has talked about it within the past addressing the backlash she received for selecting Bryan Abasolo, a Latino man. And Matt James, the present Bachelor and therefore the franchise’s first Black male lead, openly spoke about anxiety over picking a specific person of a selected race within the premiere episode of his season.

Speed of course, ended up getting engaged to Hamilton, a man, before ever seeing what he seemed to like. And while she tried so hard to not wonder if Cameron was Black or white while they spoke within the pods, she admitted to initially worrying over what the response from the Black community would plan learning he was white. At first, like within the show, I discussed I had a split moment where I assumed in my mind like, Man I’m this like Black girl magic I’m so pro-Black. I ended up engaged to a man she explained. So I did have a flash once I was like Oh man are people gonna judge me are they gonna feel some sort of way?

But, for Speed, ultimately Happiness shouldn’t have a color and she’s felt her interracial relationship has been supported by the Black community and her family and friends. They love Cam, my family loves Cam. The people around me are supportive of my happiness, she said. You know that is the most vital thing to them, which I’m being treated right.