Twenty-eight year old, former college football player turned real estate agent, Matt James can be described as charismatic and a foodie. He is set to be the first black male to ever lead The Bachelor in the show’s history.
James founded ABC Food Tours, giving opportunities to less fortunate children in the New York City area. Children learn about restaurants, food, and are inspired to improve their health and wellness.
The North Carolina native has close ties with Hannah Brown and Tyler Cameron– season 15 Bachelorette stars. The two are known for their witty TikTok’s featuring lip-syncing and quarantine craziness, including poolside videos with James. Clare Crawley, The Bachelorette of Season 16, announced Matt would be included in her season, which was postponed indefinitely.
The announcement of the 25th season Bachelor was fueled by Bachelornation’s need for change within the show in response to the Black Lives Matter Movement. Oprah Magazine notes that, “Over 80,000 people signed an online petition urging The Bachelor to “reflect and honor the racial diversity of our country—both in front of and behind the camera.”
Additionally, Rachel Lindsay, The Bachelorette’s the only black female lead to date, addressed production, encouraging them to address the lack of diversity within the network. In an interview with The New York Times, Lindsay said, “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.”
ABC’s The Bachelor and its producers claimed ownership of the remarks made of the show being “too white.” Vulture writes, “In a statement posted from host Chris Harrison’s social media accounts, the producers admitted that the franchise has been too white for too long, and outlined steps being taken to ensure more people of color [get] opportunities.”
The Bachelor chose a philanthropist, giving back to the community, who also has a large social presence. Lisa Bono writes, “He’s looking for a woman who’s “selfless, honest, caring and compassionate,” adding that he hopes his cast of contestants will be diverse, too.”
So, what does this mean? The Bachelor franchise will be held accountable for including a more diverse cast for the show, and fans are watching to ensure they follow through. Best of luck finding love next season, Matt James!