ABC to announce Matt James as next season’s bachelor, the first ever black lead


ABC has announced that Matt James has been cast as the first black bachelor, according to the New York Times. James was originally cast as a contestant on “The Bachelorette”, and is set to be the star of the next season of “The Bachelor” airing in 2021. The show, which has been running since 2002, has been receiving criticism for its lack of diversity. The call for more diversity picked up recently as previous participants on the show made statements pushing ABC to address the problem and furthermore supported an online petition arguing that the show “should reflect and honor the racial diversity of our country.” ~

James, a 28-year-old real estate broker from North Carolina and former Wake Forest Wide Receiver, said in an interview with “Good Morning America” that it was an honor to receive the role. Regarding the controversy surrounding the diversity of the show’s contestants, he said, “I don’t think it’s ever the wrong time to do the right thing.” There have been 40 seasons of the franchise and only one black lead before James: Rachel L. Lindsay, a lawyer from Texas who at 31 was cast as the first black lead of “The Bachelorette” in 2017. Lindsay, who is now married to the winner of her “Bachelorette” season, noted the lack of progress since her casting. “I was hoping when I came on to be a trailblazer for that and to increase diversity in the audience that watches it,” she said, “but in the last three years there really haven’t been changes made.” ~

The move by ABC towards increasing diversity for one of their most popular shows, “The Bachelor,” comes amid increasing tensions in the United States regarding racial inequality and police brutality, specifically in response to the death of George Floyd – an African American man who died underneath the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. ~

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