Earlier today, ABC announced who will be the bachelor on the 25th season of The Bachelor. And can you believe it, it’s not a generic-looking white guy with brown hair. Instead, ABC finally got around to casting a Black bachelor. “Wait, so I didn’t get it?” said the 5,397 brown-haired Jasons and Blakes that sent in an audition tape.
Good Morning America broke the big news that the 25th bachelor will be Matt James. Matt is 28-years-old and was originally cast as a contestant on the 16th season of The Bachelorette, the premiere of which was put on hold, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) June 12, 2020
ABC released the following statement about Matt’s history-making turn as the first Black bachelor, saying:
“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.”
People says it’s not known how far Matt made it on The Bachelorette. But we do know he’s already been involved with some Bachelor-based drama. In April, Bachelorette season 16 star Clare Crawley appeared to call Matt out for being on the show for “the wrong reasons.” To be fair, being a shameless fame-chaser is practically a prerequisite for appearing on The Bachelor.
This news comes after nearly 87,000 people signed a Change.org petition demanding that ABC start thinking seriously about letting a Black man ask women to accept their roses. ABC spoke about casting a Black bachelor last year, saying conversations were “ongoing,” and that they were proud of the diversity that has been featured on the show. The most recent bachelor, Peter Weber (of season 24) is half-Cuban.
But in regards to Black singles leading the rose ceremonies, there’s only been one other than Matt in the 40 seasons between The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. In 2017, Rachel Lindsay became the franchise’s first Black bachelorette. Rachel has also called on ABC to make the series a little more diverse. And she wasn’t talking about increasing the age to include people with AARP cards in their wallets.
The Bachelor first premiered in March 2002. Even the fake version of The Bachelor from UnReal had a Black bachelor. It’s pretty evident that there’s a huge power imbalance and major parity when it comes to race in the entertainment industry, but I just don’t understand how there hasn’t been a Black bachelor before now. The last time I checked, sunset hot air balloon dates that end with the couple being serenaded by a live performance of Train singing “Drops of Jupiter” aren’t race-specific. Okay, that might be a bad example, because that’s a pretty white date.