After much anticipation and pleas from fans of the show, “The Bachelor” has finally announced their first black bachelor. “The Bachelor” has been on the air for 18 years and has had 24 seasons, however until now, there has never been a black bachelor. Fans have been asking for diversity for years, and it seems they have been answered.
On Friday, “Good Morning America” announced that 28-year-old, Matt James, who was originally a contestant on Clare Crawley’s upcoming season of “The Bachelorette,” will be the show’s next Bachelor.
“The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” have been criticized over the years for their lack of diversity, not only when it comes to casting bachelors and bachelorettes, but also contestants. Consistently, contestants of color have been tokenized for inclusivity’s sake, but rarely have they progressed toward the end of their seasons.
Until recently, there had never been a black bachelorette either. Rachel Lindsay, who first appeared in Nick Viall’s 2017 season of “The Bachelor” became the first in 2018.
Prior to the announcement, Rachel Lindsay spoke out against Bachelor Nation’s issues with diversity on the “Bachelor Happy Hour” podcast she co-hosts with fellow former Bachelorette, Becca Kufrin. Lindsay said that she originally turned down the offer to be the bachelorette but eventually said yes, explaining that she did not necessarily believe she would find love on the show, but she thought she could improve the franchise’s relationship with race. She stated, “it’s bigger than me. They need representation, and I felt that I could do it well.” She continued, “I also hoped that I could start a trend in the right direction…My hope was that more people that look like me would start to watch the show, more people that look like me would apply to the show, they would be visible on this show, the audience would learn to be more accepting of the show and we would eventually see more leads of color on the show.”
Fans have also been putting pressure on the producers of both shows for years, but recently a Change.org petition was created, calling on ABC and Warner Bros., the show’s production company, to cast a person of color in the lead role. This petition garnered over 85,000 signatures. The petition platform stated, “the franchise, and all those who represent it, should reflect and honor the racial diversity of our country — both in front of and behind the camera,” the petition also asks for equitable screen time to white contestants and contestants of color and fair compensation for the show’s employees of color.
Matt James stated on “Good Morning America,” “I think it’s a step in the right direction.” He added, “I don’t think it’s ever the wrong time to do the right thing. Too little too late for me is this happening, and we can’t have change until we put that first foot forward. And that first foot forward for the Bachelor franchise is having a Black lead, and I’m excited to take that role.”
Photo Source: TV Insider