Matt James has been announced as the new lead of The Bachelor US, making him the first black man to fill that role in the 18-year history of the show.
James is a 28-year-old real estate broker and entrepreneur. He is also the founder of ABC Food Tours, an organisation that benefits children from underserved communities in New York City.
He’s also very hot, so good for him (and the bachelorettes) TBH:
He was originally scheduled to appear as a suitor on the upcoming season of The Bachelorette, production of which was paused due to COVID-19.
Instead, he will lead Season 25 of The Bachelor, which is set to premiere in 2021.
Good Morning America announced the casting news earlier today, and Matt James told them:
“It’s an honor. 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’re going to see that I’m not much different from them and they see that diverse love stories are beautiful.”
Up until now, Rachel Lindsay, who was The Bachelorette in Season 13, has been the sole black lead in the US version of the show. She recently threatened to cut ties with the franchise, saying:
“In 40 seasons, The Bachelor had one Black lead. We are on 45 presidents. And in 45 presidents there’s been one Black president. You are almost on par to say you’re more likely to become the President of the United States than you are a Black lead in this franchise. That’s insane. That’s ridiculous.”
Rob Mills, an executive from the US ABC network, said that Matt James has long been in consideration for the lead in The Bachelor, and that his casting was not in response to Lindsay’s statement.
He told Variety:
“Matt was somebody who was on our radar and we were thinking about him. We were thinking do we announce him early, or do we put him on Clare [Crawley]’s season and then announce him later, if it doesn’t work out with Clare? We didn’t make a final decision until recently, but this has been talked about for quite some time.”