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Eunice Olumide: Britain in denial about its racist problem

BRITAIN'S RACISM PROBLEM: Eunice Olumide says the country is in denial (Image: Channel 5/YouTube)

BRITAIN IS in “almost complete denial” about its racism problem, Scotland’s first black supermodel has said.

Eunice Olumide has said that Britain needs to speak out more about the African slave trade.

She told The Times: “What we have is almost a complete denial that one, it took place and two, that there have been significant consequences and people continue to be seriously exploited.

“I would not expect everyone to understand the issues that particularly people of colour, particularly African diaspora people, face.”

Her comments come after she was involved in a heated exchange about race and representation on TV this week.

On Wednesday, Olumide appeared on Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine show where she spoke about poor diversity in TV presenting and said that she was put off from pursuing a career as a presenter because of the lack of representation.

Lois Perry, a panelist on the show, said there had been “loads” of black female presenters. She was unable to name one when asked to.

Olumide was repeatedly interrupted by Perry and fellow panelist Angela Epstein as she tried to finish explaining her point.

“You asked me and I’ve not been allowed to answer anything at all,” Olumide told Vine.

At one point, she was called patronising by Epstein after she told her she needed to educate herself on representation.

Olumide had been asked her thoughts on how teenage girls are impacted by the images promoted by the fashion industry.

She said she believed people were more influenced by images from pop culture as opposed to high end fashion shows and publications.

After the show, Olumide used an Instagram post to expand on the points she tried to get across on the show.

She wrote “Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first to highlight the issues within the fashion industry but I do think it’s fair for fashion models to be blamed for body dysmorphia. The young girls I work with are significantly more affected by representations of women in popular culture, such as music, tv etc etc let’s think about it, how many women in the music industry are over a size 6 or 8? How many women are from Asian or BAME backgrounds? That’s not even an industry where looks should play any role at all. Most young people will never see or attend a real fashion show, neither do they read fashion magazines such as @hungermagazine or @thepopmag but they do watch TV and they do buy tabloid and gossip magazines daily.”

She received numerous messages of support in response to how she was treated on the show.

“Those other host are so ignorant its ridiculous how they ganged up against u to get their bigoted ideas across!” one commenter wrote.

Another said: “Peak white feminism from the two white women on Jeremy Vine shouting down [Eunice Olumide], talking over her very valid points because they remember one black TV presenter when they were a kid.”

After being spotted by a model scout aged 15 in Glasgow, Olumide went on to have a successful career in the fashion industry but experienced racism which sometimes meant she was rejected at casting because she was deemed “too dark”.

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