Raymond Santana of the Exonerated Five Is Allegedly Engaged to This Former Reality Star
When social media followers saw pictures of the Exonerated Five’s Raymond Santana, hugged up with the former reality star, Deelishis, they were sure it was a stunt. The two paraded across Instagram, with heart emojis as their photos captions, but fans were still skeptical. Many felt the two were an odd pair – Santana has been in the spotlight for the past few years and deemed a hero for surviving a tragic injustice and Deelishis has made headlines for accusations of skin bleaching.
Regardless of what fans thought, Santana and Deelishis are indeed a couple and they’ve recently solidified their love with the announcement that they are heading down the aisle.
Who is Raymond Santana?
Santana’s story is one of tragedy and triumph. In 1989, he and four other youths were arrested and later tried and convicted of the brutal rape of a white Central Park jogger and investment banker. Though there was no physical evidence linking them to the crime. But coerced confessions, racism, imbalanced media coverage, and the city’s outrage contributed to their persecution. Santana became known as ⅕ of the Central Park Five.
Santana spent 6 years and 8 months in prison but maintained his innocence throughout. In 2002, the real culprit confessed. After a year of investigation, the convictions of the five men were overturned. They later sued the city of New York and received a $40 million settlement to split between them.
Their trial and convictions were chronicled in the 2012 Ken Burns documentary, The Central Park Five. Though the documentary was critically acclaimed, Santana’s story did not receive mainstream attention until the 2019 Emmy-nominated, Ava DuVernay mini-series, When They See Us. After the film, the five men were re-named as The Exonerated Five.
Santana left New York but started a clothing company, Park Madison NYC, where he produces and sells t-shirts and other gear.
Who is Deelishis?
Deelishis (born Chandra Davis) was first introduced to the world when she competed for the heart of rapper Flava Flav on the second season of his VH1 reality series, Flavor of Love. The curvy Detroit native won the competition but her relationship with Flav was shortlived.
After the show, she began modeling for several different campaigns targeting plus-sized and curvier women. She also released her own line of denim. Deelishis was cast in a string of music videos as the leading lady, including rapper Paul Wall’s “Break ‘Em Off,” Busta Rhymes’s video for “Touch It Remix,” and Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop” music video.
She tried a career in music, releasing the single “Rumpshaker” with an accompanying music video. She never found a market for her music and transitioned into radio and hosting. She now is co-host of a radio show in Atlanta.
Raymond Santana confirms he’s dating Deelishis and they are now engaged
Santana and Deeelishis are officially off the market. Fans speculated that the two have been dating for a few months. The clothing designer confirmed he was dating the bootylicious influencer on his social media account.
They’ve traveled together extensively, taking tropical vacations and sharing their love with their followers. It looks like they are taking their relationship to the next level as Santana recently popped the question.
On Thursday, Dec. 5, Deelishis shared a number of videos on her Instagram Story, showing Santana asking her to marry him. In the first clip shared, the couple is seen dining at a restaurant as Santana slips a stunning diamond ring on Deelishis’ finger, while the two both smile.
A friend of the former reality star is heard in the background saying, “You got him girl” as others cheer them on.
Santana shared the news on his Instagram, posting a video of the engagement with the caption “Yea it’s official” and joking that followers who questioned their relationship, in the beginning, would be mad.
Reps for both Deelishis and Santana confirmed the engagement to PEOPLE.
This will be the first marriage for Santana, 45, and the second for Deelishis, 41. They both reside in Atlanta and have children from previous relationships. There’s no word on when the wedding is but congrats to the happy couple!