Finally! 18 years later ABC has finally cast a black lead for their hit show, The Bachelor. It was announced on June 12th, that the next bachelor will be Matt James. The series official account tweeted:
“It’s official….. your next Bachelor is Matt James.”
For the first time ever, ABC has cast a Black man as #TheBachelor.
It only took 25 seasons. pic.twitter.com/TM1vvf7de7
— AJ+ (@ajplus) June 12, 2020
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 Lindsaythreatened to cut ties with the reality show if they didn’t cast a black bachelor.
Rob Mills, who oversees ‘The Bachelor’ revealed that it has nothing to do with Rachel threatening to leave. He says:
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 28-years-old. He is also the founder of ABC Tours, an initiative for children in lower-income areas of New York. James had a career in the NFL as a wide receiver.