ABC ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCES CASTING OF FIRST BLACK BACHELOR
After 24 seasons, ABC has finally announced that they will be casting their very first Black “Bachelor,” Matt James, to be the star of season 25.
Matt James is 28 years old and was originally set to appear as a contestant on the upcoming season of The Bachelorette
Karey Burke, the ABC Entertainment President, released a statement saying that they had kept their eye on him when they first approached him to “join Bachelor Nation” and that the delay in filming allowed them to get to know Matt better and heavily influenced their decision.
Many people have spoken up about the lack of diversity within both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. In the history of both shows’ 18-year runs, there has only been one Black lead, Rachel Lindsay, who was The Bachelorette of season 13.
Since appearing as the Bachelorette, Lindsay has faced brutal racism from fans of the show and has spoken up about still constantly receiving death threats through her social media. In 2019, she even told Us Weekly that she didn’t think that there would be another Black Bachelorette saying, “I’m just being honest, I’m not hopeful at all.”
The racial harassment has even been directed towards the contestants that participate in the show. During the most recent season of The Bachelor, Rachel Lindsay appeared alongside the contestants to have a discussion with the audience on racism and hate against them. During that time, many of the non-white female contestants opened up to receiving many racially-charged hate messages that including them being called the N-word and one Black contestant receiving hate for choosing to wear her natural hair in the competition.
Though many fans are excited for the increased representation within the hit reality show, there are still many people questioning the timing behind this decision. Because Matt James was chosen to be the Bachelor after the Black Lives Matter movement led to people holding companies accountable, many people believed that ABC making this decision was performative.
Fans questioned this decision because the demand for a Black Bachelor was not new. Many fans wanted Mike Johnson, a popular contestant that appeared on season 15 of The Bachelorette, to become the first Black Bachelor, and they were disappointed when ABC decided to go with Peter Webber for season 24 instead. This incident sparked a lot of controversy over The Bachelor’s deliberate lack of representation for people of color, even when fans demanded it.
Currently, Bachelor fans are just hoping that choosing Matt James for the next Bachelor won’t be the end of representation in the Bachelor Nation. They hope that both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette will continue to embrace this diversity.