ABC’s Casts 1st Black ‘Bachelor’ Matt James

Matt James

ABC’s Casts 1st Black ‘Bachelor’ Matt James

After being on air for 18 years ABC’s hit series The Bachelor is finally having its first black lead. On Friday, June 12th the official media accounts for The Bachelor broke the news on who the next Bachelor will be. The series official Twitter account tweeted

“It’s official…your next Bachelor is [Matt James]!”

Matt James is a 28-year-old black man, which makes him the franchise’s first-ever black leading man. Back in 2017, Rachel Lindsay made history for being the first black leading woman on The Bachelorette, during season 13.

Initially, ABC had plans for Matt James to be a contestant on the next season of The Bachelorette, which will star Clare Crawley.

However, the Network decided to rethink things when production for the spin-off series was put on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Since the start of the franchise, both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have received criticism for the lack of diversity within the cast. Last week, before it was announced who the next bachelor would be, Rachel Lindsay threatened to cut ties with the reality show if they didn’t cast a black bachelor.

Following the unjust death of George Floyd, more people have also been demanding for the series to add more black people to its roster. A petition was even stared that generated more than 85,000 signatures. When speaking on what led the network to cast Matt James as the next bachelor Rob Mills, who oversees the series, said that this is something they were thinking about even before Rachel Lindsay threatened to cut ties with the show. 

“It wasn’t a response to that. We could have made this announcement earlier or later. Certainly, no one is blind to what is happening in the world, so hopefully, this announcement serves as a bit of optimism during a time that we can really use this. But I don’t want this to look like we’re patting ourselves on the back or taking a victory lap. We don’t want this, in any way, to seem like a cure-all and seem like, ‘Hey! Look what we did here!’ We know this is a few grains of sand in a very big hourglass. It’s taken a while to get where we are and we will continue to go further, and I acknowledge it may not be enough. In the last few years, I believe it’s gotten better and with the announcement of Matt, I hope it keeps getting better. We are very excited about Matt.” 

Matt James is the founder of ABC Food Tours, which is an outreach program for children in lower-income areas of New York. He played football while in college for Wake Forest University and had a brief career as a wide receiver in the NFL. It hasn’t been announced when his season will air but normally new seasons of The Bachelor kick off in January.

Many people shared their reaction to ABC’s announcing that Matt James will be the next bachelor.

What are your thoughts on the new bachelor? Let us know in the comments below?

Authored by: Twila-Amoure McDaniel