The Bachelor makes history by announcing their first Black lead

Marni Dixit
Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer

The US Bachelor has finally chosen their first Black male lead, with Matt James, 28, handing out roses in the next season.

ABC made the announcement on Friday saying they are "privileged to have Matt", who is the first Black male lead in the show's 40 season history.

Matt James has been announced as the US Bachelor's first Black male lead in the show's 40 season history. Photo: Getty

ABC said, "We know we have a responsibility to make sure the love stories we're seeing onscreen are representative of the world we live in, and we are proudly in service to our audience. This is just the beginning, and we will continue to take action with regard to diversity issues on this franchise. We feel privileged to have Matt as our first Black Bachelor and we cannot wait to embark on this journey with him."

The show has copped a lot of flack in the past for its casting, recently an online petition received almost 100,000 signatures calling the lack of diversity "unacceptable".

However, not everyone is impressed by the decision, or at least the timing of the decision.

Rachel Lindsay, who was The Bachelorette's first Black female lead in 2017, appeared on Juliet Litman's podcast Bachelor Party and opened up about her thoughts on the decision.

Rachel Lindsay, who was The Bachelorette's first Black female lead in 2017, says The Bachelor has done the "bare minimum" by hiring a Black bachelor. Photo: Getty

Juliet was over the moon with ABC's decision, but Rachel wasn't as overjoyed.

"Don't get me wrong, it is lovely that there is a Black Bachelor. It is great, but let's get in to the but," she said.

"I have been very vocal about the fact that we need a black Bachelor. This is not because of the movement. I always have to say that. I have always pushed for diversity. It's just black voices are being amplified in a way that they have never been before ... and now people are paying attention."

She added that she felt like the naming of Matt as the Bachelor was the "bare minimum".

"The fact that there are a list of things I have requested and this petition that's on Change.org, and the bare minimum was done, which seems to be so simple, right? Just give us a black Bachelor? That's what you do? It's a Band-Aid. It's the easiest thing to me that you can do and I hate that it's in response — or it seems like a knee-jerk reaction to what happened in our society, what happened with George Floyd and the pressure that you're getting from society," she said.

Rachel said it's as though "a man had to die in such a gruesome and public way for us to get a black Bachelor."

"That's what it feels like. That's the reaction," she added.

In an interview with Good Morning America, however, Matt spoke about the controversy and said, "I don’t think it’s ever the wrong time to do the right thing."

Matt was previously cast in The Bachelorette, but production was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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