Big news, Bachelor Nation!
ABC just announced that 28-year-old real estate broker and entrepreneur Matt James will serve as the lead for the next season of 'The Bachelor' -- making him the first black man in the show's history to star in that role.
The announcement comes after Bachelor Nation started circulating a petition calling on ABC producers and executives to make their casts more inclusive, noting that in 40 seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay was the only Black lead. Lindsay herself criticized the franchise for its lack of diversity.
"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," a statement from the show reads. "This is just the beginning, and we will continue to take action with regard to diversity issues on this franchise. We feel so privileged to have Matt as our first Black Bachelor and we cannot wait to embark on this journey with him.”
James was originally slated to appear on Clare Crawley's upcoming season of The Bachelorette, which was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Matt has been on our radar since February, when producers first approached him to join Bachelor Nation, as part of Clare’s season. When filming couldn’t move forward as planned, we were given the benefit of time to get to know Matt and all agreed he would make a perfect Bachelor," ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke said.