For a long time, ABC’s reality show “The Bachelor” has received heat due to the lack of diversity on the show. After 18 years and 40 seasons, the show has finally cast the first black man in a leading role. The network announced that Matt James will be the leading man on the show. He is 28 years old and a real estate broker and entrepreneur.
James was originally set to appear in season 16 of the spinoff show “The Bachelorette” but the show delayed filming due to the coronavirus.
Former “Bachelorette” contestant Rachel Lindsay expressed her opinion about the casting of the first black man and said to Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen,”I’m excited that there’s a Black Bachelor, … but I hated the timing of it because it does seem like a reaction to what is happening in our country. Did a man have to die in such a public way on a national stage for you to say, ‘Now is the time for us to have a Black Bachelor’?” Lindsay was the first and only black female lead on the show. She made threats in the past to walk away from the “Bachelor” brand if the show didn’t become more diverse.
James also had something to say about his casting and said on Good Morning America,”I don’t think it’s ever the wrong time to do the right thing. Too little too late for me is this happening and we can’t have change until we put that first foot forward, and that first forward for The Bachelor franchise is having a black lead. So, I’m excited to take on that role”.
The creator of the show Mike Fleiss said the show didn’t have diversity because people of color didn’t come for casting. According to ABC President Karey Burke, they have been interested in casting James since February when they wanted him to join Clare Crawley’s season of “The Bachelorette”. The producers are proud to have him as the first black bachelor and want to continue to have diversity on the show.