With the world being engulfed in protests against social injustice and racism, here is one piece of news that comes as a breath of fresh air and positivity.
28-year-old Matt James from North Carolina has created history of sorts after being announced as the first black lead of ABC’s long-running romance reality series, ‘The Bachelor’. The show also happens to be one of the biggest franchises in television history. The role was announced on Friday, 12th of June 2020, on the show ‘Good Morning America’.
Originally short listed as one of the contestants to vie for Clare Crawley’s attention and affection in the series ‘The Bachelorette’, Matt James couldn’t commence shooting due to the lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. James also goes on to be the first bachelor to be cast without appearing on ‘The Bachelorette’ previously.
In response to the announcement, James said on Good Morning America, ”It’s an honour. I’m just going to lean into myself and how my mom raised me, and hopefully when people invite me into their homes on Monday night… they see that diverse love stories are beautiful.”
With Rachel Lindsay being the only African American to be cast as a lead in the franchise’s The Bachelorette in 2017, Matt’s entry to the show was partly because of the pressure on ABC to include leads from diverse communities after thousands rallied for the Change.org petition called, “A Campaign For Anti-Racism in the Bachelor Franchise,” to include more people of colour in the series.
The recent brutal killing of George Floyd in police custody leading to the Black Lives Matter movement added to the channel’s decision to introduce Matt James as the first lead of colour to the series. His inclusion is anticipated to steer the interest of the African-American community towards the show, dismissing the belief that the community is not an active viewer.
Alongside being a professional athlete, Matt James has previously delved into real estate and now runs the non-profit ABC Food Tours to implement an experiential learning platform for students in New York City living in underserved communities to educate, motivate and inspire them to overcome life’s obstacles.
Having garnered immense popularity due to his publicized friendship with Tyler Cameron, a runner-up on season of “The Bachelorette,” Matt James has also been seen in TikTok videos with Cameron.
With fans and fellow contestants from the previous seasons coming out in support of ABC’s move to squash questions on racism, they also pushed the franchise to lead by example in continuum.
A positive step in the right direction, definitely.
Are you in excited about Matt James on The Bachelor? We definitely are! It sure will be worth a watch!