ABC is attempting to repair its historical lack of diversity by finally choosing a black leading man for the next season of The Bachelor. In the 18 years since the reality show appeared, there has never once been a black Bachelor, and black contestants featured on the show and The Bachelorette tend to be few and quickly disposed of. Matt James, 28, is hopefully the first of big moves the network will be making to be much more inclusive.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) June 12, 2020
- Better late than never, I suppose… While it seriously sucks that ABC’s decision to get on board with diversity only came as more attention has been called to people, institutions, and corporations with racist principles and practices, I suppose what’s important is that it’s happening at all. Having a black Bachelor isn’t going to change the world, but it’s a small step in the right direction. As we know, representation is so important.
- There has actually been a black Bachelorette before. If you’re familiar with the show and its offshoots, you probably watched Rachel Lindsay look for love back in 2017. However, she’s also been pretty upfront about the show’s lack of diversity and the prioritization of white contestants over the years. Over 40 seasons of both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, there has only been one black lead. That’s just ridiculous.
- Matt James was already signed up for the franchise. He was apparently supposed to appear on Claire Crawley’s season of The Bachelorette, which was delayed to the coronavirus crisis. Now that won’t be happening because he’ll be heading up his own search for love, which is way better.
- ABC released a statement following the casting announcement. “We know we have a responsibility to make sure the love stories we’re seeing onscreen are representative of the world we live in, and we are proudly in service to our audience,” ABC said in a statement. “This is just the beginning, and we will continue to take action with regard to diversity issues on this franchise. We feel so privileged to have Matt as our first Black Bachelor and we cannot wait to embark on this journey with him.”
- Of course, Matt James has already had a bit of controversy… There were some accusations being thrown around that all the men on Crawley’s season of The Bachelorette might be in the show for the wrong reason, with fingers being pointed at James even from Crawley herself. “If you are doing interviews and creating Cameo accounts before you are even on my season… you are in it for the wrong reasons…” she tweeted on April 25. “Respect the opportunity you’ve been given. Respect the rules. Respect me.” People immediately assumed this was Matt, but it’s not his fault he’s a catch!
If you are doing interviews and creating Cameo accounts before you are even on my season… you are in it for the wrong reasons… #dontwasteyourtime
— Clare Crawley (@Clare_Crawley) April 25, 2020