HOLLYWOOD — The Bachelor announced via Twitter on Friday, June 12, at 5:25 a.m. PST that Matt James will be the next Bachelor. Matt James will star in the show’s 25th season, which is currently expected to air in 2021. He is the first black man to become a Bachelor.
Shortly after the announcement, Matt James went on Good Morning America to speak about his role.
When asked what he thought after getting ‘the call’, he mentioned wondering whether he would get to meet Clare. Clare Crawley is this year’s Bachelorette.
Originally, James was in the cast for this year’s The Bachelorette. Clare Crawley’s season began recasting after fans called for a more mature pool of men. Her season has yet to come out due to delays caused by the pandemic. It is set to air this fall.
Born in Raleigh, James played collegiate football at Wake Forest. He went undrafted in 2015, and tried out for both the New Orleans Saints and the North Carolina Panthers.
James was asked whether he felt any pressure being the first black man to be a Bachelor. “It’s an honor,” he says, “I’m just gonna lean into myself and how my mom raised me. Hopefully, when people invite me into their homes on Monday night, they’re gonna see that I’m not much different from them and that diverse love stories are beautiful.” He hopes that “when the limo pulls up, there’s a lot of diversity.”
The show has been criticized for the lack of diversity among the cast by people such as Bachelor Nation alumni Rachel Lindsay. Lindsay was the first Bachelorette to be a woman of color. She expressed her thoughts on the casting choice through Twitter:
Congrats to Matt James. I am happy to see that a black man was cast after 18 years and 40 seasons. I believe it is a step in the right direction.
— Rachel Lindsay (@TheRachLindsay) June 12, 2020
Regarding Matt James, ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke said in a statement:
“We feel so privileged to have Matt as our first black Bachelor, and we cannot wait to embark on this journey with him.”