ABC Names Matt James as the First Black ‘Bachelor’ for 2021′s Season 25!

The Bachelor has its first Black lead!

Matt James has been selected as the show’s first-ever Black Bachelor, ABC announced on Friday (June 12).

PHOTOS: Check out the latest pics of Matt James

Matt James is a 28-year-old real estate broker, entrepreneur and community organization founder, and is best known to Bachelor Nation as a friend to Tyler Cameron, and competed on Hannah Brown’s season of The Bachelorette. He was also set to compete on The Bachelorette with Clare Crawley, but that was halted amid the pandemic, so ABC thought of a bigger role for Matt.

The news comes as former Bachelorette star Rachel Lindsay put the franchise on blast for not having a Black Bachelor lead in the show’s nearly two decade run since 2002.

Here’s more information about Matt, via THR: “[Matt] James, a North Carolina native who played football at Wake Forest, had a short run in the NFL and now lives in New York City where he and [Tyler] Cameron run ABC Food Tours, an organization that offers kids from underserved communities the opportunity to explore the city through food, exercise and mental and physical wellness. He is the first Bachelor since 2008′s Matt Grant to be cast as the lead without having appeared as a contestant on The Bachelorette.”

“He would have been on Clare’s season if it started in March. When we realized the shutdown was going to extend through the summer, we started thinking about how we were going to choose our Bachelor. Matt was somebody who was on our radar and we were thinking about him. We were thinking do we announce him early, or do we put him on Clare’s season and then announce him later, if it doesn’t work out with Clare? We didn’t make a final decision until recently, but this has been talked about for quite some time, said ABC’s Rob Mills.

He also denied that casting Matt was a response to criticism.

“It wasn’t a response to that. We could have made this announcement earlier or later. Certainly no one is blind to what is happening in the world, so hopefully this announcement serves as a bit of optimism during a time that we can really use this, but I don’t want this to look like we’re patting ourselves on the back or taking a victory lap. We don’t want this, in any way, to seem like a cure-all and seem like, ‘Hey! Look what we did here!’ We know this is a few grains of sand in a very big hourglass. It’s taken a while to get where we are and we will continue to go further, and I acknowledge it may not be enough. In the last few years, I believe it’s gotten better and with the announcement of Matt, I hope it keeps getting better. We are very excited about Matt.”

The Bachelor is scheduled to return in 2021.

Find out what Rachel Lindsay said about the show’s lack of diversity…

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