‘The Bachelor’ Casts Matt James As Its First Black Male Lead In Series History – “The Bachelor” has its first Black lead with star Matt James.
‘The Bachelor’ Casts Matt James As Its First Black Male Lead In Series History:
Matt James has been announced as the new star of “The Bachelor,” one of the biggest franchises in television history.
The 28-year-old will become the first black man to take the lead role in the long-running reality dating show, the network announced Friday.
On Friday morning, Good Morning America announced Matt James’ new history-making role with a statement from ABC saying they are “privileged to have Matt” as the first black Bachelor.
“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.”
Matt James is known to Bachelor Nation for his friendship with fan-favorite alum Tyler Cameron, the runner up from Hannah Brown’s “The Bachelor” season.
James was originally cast for Clare Crawley’s season of “The Bachelorette”. However, that season, which was supposed to begin airing this past May, but when production on “Bachelorette” was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, ABC began to think of a bigger role for James.
“It’s official…your next Bachelor is @mattjames919!” the Bachelor Twitter account shared.
Matt James Will Be The First Black ‘Bachelor’ For Season 25:
Matt James’ casting on the series comes after a campaign was launched urging The Bachelor to cast a Black male lead. A petition signed and circulated by fans and veteran cast members called for the reality series to cast a lead of color as well as increase diversity behind the screens.
A number of former stars have showed support for the petition, including Lindsay, JoJo Fletcher, Ben Higgins, Arie Luyendyk Jr., Desiree Siegfried, Tyler Cameron, Bibiana Julian, Dustin Kendrick, Olivia Caridi, Onyeka Ehie, Devin Harris, Alayah Benavidez, Mykenna Dorn, Amanda Stanton and Ashley Spivey.
In 2017, Rachel Lindsay made history on The Bachelorette as the first, and until now, only Black lead of the series.
Rachel Lindsay, the first Black lead of the entire franchise in its nearly two decades on air, said she would cut ties with the ABC reality show if a Black bachelor was not cast.
On Good Morning America, Matt James said he was disappointed he wouldn’t get to meet Crawley, but said he’s excited to take on the Bachelor role.
When James came in for conversations about possibly becoming the next star of “The Bachelor,” the network made it clear that he was not being chosen for the color of his skin.
“It’s an honor,” James said. “I’m going to lean into myself and how my mom raised me, and hopefully when people invite me into their homes Monday night they see that I’m not different from them and that diverse love stories are beautiful.”
When asked if his casting on The Bachelor feels “too little too late,” Matt James, who has already garnered a large fanbase among the reality show’s audience because he is friends with Cameron, who was a runner-up on Brown’s season of “The Bachelorette,” replied, “I don’t think it’s ever the wrong time to do the right thing. Too little too late for me is this happening and we can’t have change until we put that first foot forward, and that first forward for The Bachelor franchise is having a black lead. So, I’m excited to take on that role.”
When asked about his reaction to getting the call, James, 28, shared, “My first reaction was, does this mean I don’t get to meet Clare? Because I was looking forward to meeting her. I had set aside all this time, we had gone out to California and then called back with quarantine. So, I’m super excited for her and her season, but I’m looking forward to meeting her eventually.”
“The Bachelor” is slated to premiere in 2021, although no specific date has been set.