Matt James is the new bachelor and he is ready for love!
The Bachelor announced James, 28, as the show’s swoon-worthy leading man — making him the franchise’s first-ever black male lead. In 2017, season 13, Rachel Lindsay made history as the first-ever black female lead of the ABC franchise.
This past Friday morning, Good Morning America announced James’ role in a statement from ABC saying how 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,” the statement read.
“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.”
James’ new role comes after Bachelor Nation demanded more diversity – rallying behind a new petition that called on ABC and executive producer Mike Fleiss to cast more people of color.
As of Thursday evening, the petition has garnered over 125,000 signatures, calling the franchise’s lack of diversity “unacceptable,” additionally noting how in 40 seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, Lindsay has been the only black lead.
Prior to being given the new Bachelor title, James was previously cast as one of Clare Crawley‘s Bachelorette contestants.
It is not clear if James will continue to be one of Crawley’s suitors as production was halted in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Host Chris Harrison explained back in March that the cast could be restructured due to the pandemic.
But in May, Harrison told Entertainment Tonight: “As far as I know, [he’ll still be a contestant]. I mean, I have not heard anything different. I mean. I don’t know if he wants to do this after quarantine, who knows? But as far as I know, yes.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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