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Why Netflix’s ‘Love Is Blind’ couple Lauren and Cameron matter

A black woman and a white man profess their love for one another on the series

As if dating couldn’t get any more complicated, the reality series Love Is Blind has me obsessed with its experiment of couples falling in love without setting eyes on one another and asking the question is love truly blind.

Producer and founder of Kinetic Content Chris Coelen brings 15 women and 15 men together in a blind date experience. Nick and Vanessa Lachey host this social experiment where participants look for love and get engaged, all before meeting in person. With zero distractions from the outside world, the 30 participants are given 10 days to speed date in private “pods,” where they can talk but not see one another, hoping to create an emotional connection over a physical attraction. The pods separate the strangers by a wall. If a couple creates an emotional connection on the show and one proposes, they meet for the first time in person and leave the pods with a wedding scheduled within four weeks.

One immediate observation about Love Is Blind was the number of black women on the show. Of the 30 test subjects in the bizarre social experiment there were seven black women. However, I only saw two black men.

Getting engaged and married within a month is insane. But to my surprise, a black woman, Lauren Speed, a 32-year-old digital content creator, and Cameron Hamilton, a 28-year-old white man who is an artificial intelligence data scientist, became America’s sweethearts after professing their love for one another. Today, the two are legally married after tying the knot in 2018 – the year the show was filmed. Eight couples got engaged on the show, but only six of them were featured. The show had its fair share of drama, but the only drama surrounding Lauren and Cameron was their race.

Here’s why Lauren’s presence on the show was important. Like others, my natural reaction to Lauren expressing her love to Cameron so soon was, hold up, sis, already? But as I watched their love story unfold, their connection seemed genuine. And from day one, Lauren was vocal about her focus on the struggles of black people and transparent about what she thought her future husband would look like – a black man. In every episode, Lauren is serving looks, edges laid, a braided ponytail and a fresh face beat. She’s relatable.

While the other contestants seemed to be spiraling in their relationships, the only drama surrounding Lauren and Cameron was their race.

Courtesy of Netflix

While the realities of Lauren and Cameron being an interracial couple was a major concern for Lauren, Cameron did an amazing job reassuring her that they’ll be all right, even acknowledging that their children will be black. A recent video from Lauren’s Instagram Live surfaced, showing a white woman touching her hair and Cameron stepped up, telling the woman, “Don’t do that.” I couldn’t help but stan.

The diversity on Love Is Blind is impressive compared with other dating shows. For instance, after 14 years, Rachel Lindsay became the first African American Bachelorette on the ABC franchise in 2017. While Lindsay made history, she doesn’t believe we’ll see a repeat. “I hope I’m wrong! Prove me wrong,” she told Us Weekly in 2019. British reality dating series Love Island was consistently dragged online for its blatant disregard for contestants of color and didn’t cast a black woman until 2018.

At first glance, it seems black people looking for reality TV love are put into a pigeonhole of problematic companionship. For example: VH1’s Flavor of Love, I Love New York, and TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé. While making for exquisite television, it’s not quite the fairy tale that white reality love shows such as Bachelor in Paradise, More to Love, Rock of Love with Bret Michaels, are known to receive.

For me, Lauren and Rachel are why representation matters on these platforms, showing the world that black women too can find love with men they didn’t expect or predict. And while having another black Bachelorette would be dope, being the first of anything should really stop being a thing. And while I’m not sure if it’s too early to throw roses, kudos to Netflix for allowing a taste of black transparency with Lauren as a lead.

A Love Is Blind reunion is set to premiere on Netflix Thursday, but you can bet this isn’t the last we’ll see of Lauren and Cameron.

Courtney Cummings is a freelance writer, currently exploring Southeast Asia and sharing her experiences as a black expat.