OCCUPATION: Strategy policy advisor
FROM: Camden, London
RELATIONSHIP STATUS: Single
PLAYING AS: “Josh”, 24 from Camden
IN A NUTSHELL: Busayo was born and raised on an estate in North West London. As a black woman Busayo has observed the opportunities that wealthy white men are afforded in modern society. Using the unique potential that comes with gameplay in The Circle, Busayo will be playing the game by catfishing as a middle-class, white man to test how differently she might be treated.
MOTIVATION FOR ENTERING THE CIRCLE: Busayo wants to test the theory of white, male privilege. She believes the fictional “Josh” would be more popular than she would be playing herself in The Circle. She says that white men earn respect sooner than women and people of colour, and tend to find romance on TV shows much easier than a black women would. She hopes to show that black women, who are often pre-judged by appearance in society, shouldn’t be underestimated.
STRATEGY: Busayo is open to “Josh” developing romantic relationships with other players if it helps to advance her in the game. She has developed an extensive background for “Josh” including details on where he went to university, his politics, his parentage, his fashion sense, and even where he likes to take girls on dates. She will get involved in intellectual conversations in The Circle as well as carefree ones to send a message that black women are capable of both, despite how they are often portrayed in the media.
Would you be open to relationship in The Circle?
No. My character might but I'm not.
Can you tell me why you signed up for The Circle?
I want to shed light on white privilege in social interaction. I work on diversity and inclusion in higher education, and the phenomena of the black attainment gap which shows that white students are more likely to get better degrees than black students could indicate that there’s a level of institutional advantage offered to white students over their black counterparts. I wanted to basically shed light on the "invisible privileges" that white people benefit from.
Can you tell me about the profile you have created for The Circle?
He is white. His name is Josh Weldon. He is also 24, he is also from Camden. He also has the same job as I do but he went to Bristol and not the London School of Economics, which I went to. He's got a white saviour complex so he’s volunteered in Africa to help black kids.
Do you think James is going to be a more popular character than if you played The Circle as yourself?
I think so because there can be stereotypes attached to black confident women that they may be angry or aggressive. I think we've seen from TV shows that black women aren't, necessarily, the love interest. So, it might be better for me to play this particular character, and it's also about white privilege, rather than him being more successful than I would be as a black woman. It's looking at how people navigate as a straight white male.
What sort of research have you done?
When I look at my own experiences and my own CV, you would think that was something that a white middle-class man would have achieved. He has the same profile as me but obviously he's a white middle-class male. So the research is from my own experiences. And of course, the people I have crossed paths with at University, in Camden and the conversations I’ve had with different ethnicities, Camden is a multicultural place. Obviously I've had to look into some places in Bristol as well.
How will you decide what pictures to use?
I chose the picture I did because I felt like he looked important enough to have the role and the career that I have said that he's going to have, but also he looks young enough to be cool and hip.
How easy do you think it will be to win people over with just pictures and words?
I don't know how easy it will be. He still has to have a personality and I have to do a lot of work creating that personality. I think it'll be interesting to see that he doesn't have to think about the race aspect of it and it will give me more opportunity to bring my own personality to his character. It's a popularity contest after all and they don't know that he's a catfish so I have to make sure he is lovable and funny and I guess romantic with whoever he needs to be romantic with.
What's going to be your strategy to win?
It's not a sob story but his story is that he's wealthy, but he feels like he's penalised for that because he's actually cool, he's actually down with the people. He volunteers abroad, he likes Stormzy, he likes talking to people. He's going to be lovable in the sense that people are going to go like him. He's very much the person who has a black friend, so he's going to come to the aid of ethnic minorities or other marginalised communities. It's a white saviour complex.
What social media platforms do use at home?
Instagram and Twitter.
Who's your favourite star on social media?
Amber Wagner. She's like a plus-size American personality and she does motivational speeches, and she's really funny. She's happy in her skin. I like that. She's carefree.
Have you ever been catfished?
No, not to my knowledge.
Do you think you'll be able to spot any catfish in The Circle?
I'm just going to assume everyone is a catfish.
Is there anything that really bugs you about social media?
What upsets me about social media is the fact that it has come to replace reality so where people should be having fun offline and creating relationships and developing themselves, they go to social media. It's a nice place to meet people but human interaction shouldn't be replaced by this kind of pseudo interaction.
Were you popular at school?
I think so. I was a social butterfly.
Is it more important to you to bring this issue up than it is to win the show?
Yes, obviously I could do with £100K! That would be very good for me. However, I think that it's more important to highlight these issues when you can.
How far will you go to win?
If I can shine a light on white privilege, then I've won to be honest.
What would you do with the prize money?
I would give it to some sort of charity that is connected to these issues. Whether it's to do with getting more kids from particular backgrounds into particular universities, or careers... I'll try and donate money to that.