Meet Matt James, star of the next season of 'The Bachelor'

Monday, 15 Jun, 2020

For the first time in the history of the hit reality TV show, ABC has announced The Bachelor will feature a black lead. 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 flawless Bachelor.

Over 70,000 viewers have signed a petition for "The Bachelor" to cast a Black lead for season 25.

"Congrats to Matt James".

While much of Bachelor Nation has fallen in love with him already, many will meet the 28-year-old real estate broker, entrepreneur and community organization founder on his journey to find love for the first time. There are reports which suggest that there are many petitions from the fans and former contestants of the show urging the show makers to bring more diversity in the cast and undergo a "diversity makeover" on their show. Hence, "The Bachelor" should reflect and honor the racial diversity of the US, whether on or off-camera.

However, due to the coronavirus pandemic production of The Bachelorette was shutdown and delayed indefinitely.

Matt James grew his own following after being seen with his best friend, Tyler Cameron, the runner-up on Hannah Brown's season of The Bachelorette.

Matt and Tyler actually go way back - they started as football teammates on Wake Forest University's team, and are now roommates in New York City. "We acknowledge our responsibility for the lack of representation of people of color on our franchise and pledge to make significant changes to address this issue moving forward". Local ABC affiliate, ABC11, wrote about James previous year, profiling his ABC Food Tours initiative, which helps inner-city kids in New York City have the experience of eating in nice restaurants.

Sydney Hightower, an Alabama native who appeared on "The Bachelor" in Season 24, posted a brief tribute in her Instagram stories: "So incredibly happy about this!"

"I think it's a step in the right direction, I don't think there's a wrong time to do the right thing". If James wasn't a serious suitor, he likely wouldn't have agreed to also star in "The Bachelor".

Responding Friday to James' historic casting, former "Bachelorette" Lindsay detailed some hopes for a more inclusive future. In 2017, Rachel Lindsay was cast as lead for Season 13 of The Bachelorette. Eventually she said yes - not because she believed she would find love on the show, but because she thought she could improve the franchise's record on race.