Matt James: ABC Casts First Black Bachelor!

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If anyone ever tries to tell you that protests, social media organizing, and open conversation are not effective ways to bring about change, you just point them to the past three weeks in American history.

MATT J.

The Black Lives Matter movement and its allies have gained ground on monumental matters (the arrests of the police who murdered George Floyd).

We've also seen changes (like the cancelation of the show COPS) that are less consequential, but no less indicative of the power of this moment.

And now comes this morning's annoucement:

Matt James: The New Bachelor

We suppose the casting of Matt James as the first Black Bachelor in the 18-year history of the wildly popular ABC dating show would fall into the latter category.

But that doesn't make it an any less joyous occasion for the fans and insiders who have been spent years fighting for this milestone moment.

It's happening, Bachelor Nation!

Matt James on Instagram

Matt was originally cast on Clare Crawley's upcoming season of The Bachelorette - which has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But in response to recent demands for greater diversity and reprentation within the franchise, his status has been upgraded.

Now, James will be the one handing out roses on the 25th season of The Bachelor.

Matt James in NYC

The decision was revealed in a surprise announcement on Good Morning America on Friday.

“Matt has been on our radar since February, when producers first approached him to join Bachelor Nation, as part of Clare’s season," ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke said in a statement released today.

"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."

Matthew James

"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," Burke continued.

"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.”

Matt James and Tyler Cameron

James is familiar to denizens of Bachelor Nation for a couple of reasons:

For one, the 28-year-old New York-based real estate broker is the longtime best friend and business partner of fan favorite Tyler Cameron (above).

He's also buddies with Hannah Brown (below).

Matt James and Hannah Brown

On top of that, James clashed with Crawley back in April when she called him out for allegedly chasing clout by joining the Cameo app.

"If you are doing interviews and creating Cameo accounts before you are even on my season... you are in it for the wrong reasons... #dontwasteyourtime," Clare tweeted at the time.

James later clarified that he created an account with the paid personal greeting service in order to raise money for coronavirus relief efforts. 

Matt James, Tyler Cameron

Still, add that spat to James and Crawley's 11-year age difference, and it seems unlikely that the two of them would have found a love match.

Yet another reason this bit of retooling is a stellar idea.

Bachelor spoilers god Reality Steve tweeted about the situation moments ago, informing fans that Matt and Clare's seasons are both ready to go - whenever the pandemic subsides to the point that ABC feels comfortable beginning production.

Matt James

"For those asking, no, this has nothing to do with Clare’s season," Steve wrote.

"She’s still the Bachelorette and from what I’ve heard, will begin filming in July."

"No start date for Matt James season has been announced yet."

Matt James The Bachelor

Our congratulations go out to Matt James, as well as to Rachel Lindsay and the other activists who helped make this happen.

Perhaps this won't be remembered as one of the major changes of this tumultuous period in our nation's history.

But from a pop culture standpoint, it's a big, big deal nonetheless, and everyone involved should feel proud.

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