The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

‘Love Island’ spin-off turns rivalry into love

‘Love Nwantiti: Who Will Make a Match?’ brought Lafayette and Lehigh students together as one. 

Lafayette and Lehigh were born to be rivals, but what happens if they become lovers?

Last Friday, Lafayette’s African and Caribbean Student Association (LACSA) and Lehigh’s African Student Association (ASA) cohosted a “Love Island”-inspired live event called “Love Nwantiti: Who Will Make a Match?”

Twenty-two contestants, all men and women of color from Lafayette College and Lehigh University, participated in the event’s lively challenges and games under the guiding objective of making a match with someone from the opposing school.

The first segment of the show was the initial coupling. Each Lafayette and Lehigh man was individually brought on stage in front of the panel of women where they attempted to win their hearts and minds through prepared presentations on their best qualities and clever answers to audience questions.

With each potential suitor, the women were provided with a freshly blown pink balloon with which to display their interest.

“If they weren’t feeling the vibe, they would pop the balloon, if they were feeling the vibe, they would not pop the balloon,” co-host of the event Kwasi Obeng-Dankwa ‘23 said.

The newly formed couples then competed in several challenges, including a karaoke duet of a song of their choice and a best-dressed contest. Challenge by challenge, the contestants were whittled down until only one winning couple remained: a Lehigh man and a Lafayette woman. 

Despite the festivities, participants weren’t sure if the victorious couple was made to last.

“I can’t be the judge of that,” Obeng-Dankwa said. “But from my personal opinion — it’s not looking good.”

However, according to LACSA social media and outreach chair Eline Pellicano ‘24, the short-lived romance is okay. After all, coupling star-crossed Lafayette-Lehigh soulmates wasn’t the main point of the event.

“It’s very important for people to feel safe … and that everybody gets celebrated,” Pellicano said. “And the only way we could really do that was by saying, ‘This is a joke and this is a game.'”

The game was the first collaboration of its kind between LACSA and ASA, and it certainly won’t be the last. While the show took advantage of the inherent Lafayette-Lehigh rivalry to create an event full of banter and excitement, this sense of opposition never traveled beyond the stage.

“You would expect there to be some sense of rivalry or some sense of trying to prove that we’re better in a certain capacity,” Pellicano said. “But we really were working together equally to make this event great.”

Chisom Njoku ‘23, a LACSA event coordinator and the second co-host of “Love Nwantiti,” saw the event as a way to establish rapport between the two campus communities. It also served as a warm-up for a larger event that LACSA and ASA are planning to hold this April: a fake African wedding.

The African wedding trend, which has been popularized through TikTok and YouTube by creators like Ini Cash, showcases college-aged individuals organizing fake wedding parties simply to experience the distinct fun and glamor of a West African wedding.

“Growing up, attending these types of events, like a wedding, was one of the best things because it’s just so fun,” Njoku said. “One thing about Africans: we know how to party.”

Njoku expressed hope that events like the dating show and the African wedding will become the foundation of a strong relationship between LACSA and ASA and that such events will be happening for years to come.

“The irony behind it is that it’s this rivalry thing, but … it’s all about love,” Njoku said. “The schools are coming together for the sake of love.”

Correction 2/25/23: A previous version of this article, including the title, incorrectly stated that all student participants in the event were Black. All participants were students of color. 

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