Former LSESU Gen Sec Busayo Twins on Channel 4’s dating reality show The Circle

Former LSESU Gen Sec Busayo Twins joined Channel 4’s reality television game show The Circle on 9 October, presenting as a middle class white man named Josh.

Contestants on The Circle live in the same house but never actually meet, see or hear one another. Instead, they communicate through a specially designed social media app, which is voice activated. The crux of the show is that each contestant can be anyone they choose or fictionalise.

“I want to highlight how a middle-class white male might be more popular in the game,” said Twins explaining her choice to impersonate Josh in the show. “Being a confident and articulate black woman, sometimes it can intimidate people. If a white male is confident, it’s natural and they’re born leaders. But if I was to be the same, I would come across as radical or aggressive,” she added.

Social media users have expressed mixed reactions to Twins’ reasons for taking on the persona of a young white male. Some users have criticised Twins for politicising a light-hearted game. One user commented on Facebook “she puts a downer on everything. This is meant to be a light hearted and fun game show. She wants to turn it into some sort of crusade.”

Other users have expressed that she would have been just as popular as a black woman. A Facebook user wrote on The Circle’s page, “She’s gonna get a shock when she meets the other players then, such a diverse bunch in there and all lovely people doing well.”

Esohe Uwadiae, Twins’ friend and former LSESU Education Officer, told The Beaver that the debate on social media sparked by Busayo’s choice of character on The Circle “really shows how far this country still has to go when it comes to understanding race and racism.”

“If anyone was ever going to do something like this, it would be Busayo, she’s never been one to sit idly by when it comes to issues of importance,” added Uwadiae, recalling Twins’ leadership in the campaign for the introduction of a social mobility officer at LSESU, which made it one of the first unions in the country to have such a position.

Busayo Twins was ACS President at LSE while pursuing a degree in Economic History and then went on to become LSE’s first black General Secretary in the 2016-17 academic year. Her work as Gen Sec was centred around bursaries and closing the attainment gap for low-income and BAME students at the university. As Gen Sec, Twins also voiced her support for the Justice for Cleaners campaign when it was launched in 2016.

She is currently a Strategic Policy Advisor in the Office for Students and an officer in the Access Project, a charity that supports high potential students from disadvantaged backgrounds to secure places in the UK’s top universities. All of these roles have been put on hold for at least 3 and a half weeks while she is on The Circle, but her activism on issues that affect the black British community will continue to underpin her participation in the program.

For those who want to watch Busayo on The Circle, the show airs nightly at 10pm on Channel 4. “I strongly urge people to support the work she’s doing by joining the debate online and downloading The Circle app and voting for her when possible,” voiced Uwadiae.

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