After a serious call to arms in Bachelor Nation, Matt James will be the first-ever black Bachelor! The 28-year-old was named the lead after a campaign launched by the franchise’s first-ever black lead in 2017, Rachel Lindsay.
In a statement, producers said: "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. 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.”
A Change.org petition calling for diversity went viral, as the entire nation grappled with the need for more diversity in all industries. Before being named the new Bachelor, James was cast in the next Bachelorette series starring Clare Crawley.
Fans were thrilled for the most part. One summarized their glee at the campaign to cast a black Bachelor thusly: “woke up to see that we bullied ABC into giving us a black bachelor 🙂 and its tyler cameron’s bestie”.
Linsday, however, wasn’t sure. She told Page Six: “Congrats to Matt James. I am happy to see that a black man was cast after 18 years and 40 seasons. I believe it is a step in the right direction. I would be remiss to not point out that based on the current climate, it feels like a knee-jerk reaction and a result of societal pressure.”
Lindsay, 35, continued, “This announcement, without any further commitments regarding diversity, sweepingly brushes deeper issues under the rug . Until we see action to address the systemic racism within the franchise, the casting news today is equivalent to the trend of posting a black box on your social media account without other steps taken to dismantle the systems of injustice. I look forward to hearing more about the additional efforts the franchise plans to make towards change.”
Meanwhile, James was first nominated to be on Bachelor by his BFF Tyler Cameron’s late mom, Andrea. She died earlier this year from a brain aneurysm.