History has been made, ladies and gentlemen.
Following an outpouring of criticism and pressure directed at ABC, producers at last made the decision in June 2020 to cast an African-American as the lead of The Bachelor.
Are you ready for your close-up, Matt James?!?
With viewers buzzing over this selection and with the Black Lives Matter movement reveling in this (admittedly very small) victory, it's time to get to know Matt James.
Just who the Season 25 star?
Find out below!
"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 by ABC read upon making this announcement. "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.”
Protests Really Do Work
In the days leading up to this casting, thousands of viewers and also a bunch of Bachelor Nation alums signed a petition and urged ABC to finally cast a person of color in this role.
So.. Who IS Matt James?
He was originally cast as a suitor on Clare Crawley's upcoming season of The Bachelorette. He made headlines back in April 2020 after Crawley seemingly called him out for being on the show for the "wrong reasons," only to fire back that he's only active on the Cameo app in order to raise money for coronavirus relief.
He's Best Friends with Tyler Cameron
James even spent a chunk of his COVID-19 quarantine alongside Cameron in Florida, where he also hung out a lot with Hannah Brown.
How Did He Meet Cameron?
These two hunks met while attending Wake Forest University and moved in together in New York City in October of 2019.
The Guy Can Dance!
We present this TikTok -- with Tyler and then Hannah! - as evidence.
He's Very Charitable
James and Cameron run the charity organization ABC Food Tours together. And James also donates time and money to the Robin Hood Foundation.
He's Been Under Consideration for Awhile
“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 in a statement.
What's He Do for a Living?
After graduating from Wake Forest in 2015 with an Economics degree, James actually tried to make it in the NFL. The wide receiver earned tryouts with the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints, yet didn’t make the team. He later scored a job at PNC Bank in Pittsburgh prior to moving to NYC... where he worked as a research analyst for commercial real estate company CBRE.
Is He Excited To be The Bachelor?
You bet! “It’s an honor [to be the first black Bachelor],” he said on Good Morning America. “I’m just going to lean into myself and how my mom raised me, and hopefully when people invite me into their homes on Monday nights, they’re going to see that I’m not much different from them and they see that diverse love stories are beautiful.”
What's He Looking for in a Woman?
“Selfless, honest, caring, compassionate and those are qualities found in women all shape, sizes and races,” he said on GMA. “It’s not a black or white thing so I'm hoping that when that limo puts up there is a lot of diversity and I see every type of woman coming out of that limo.”
What Does Cameron Have to Say About This Casting?
“Congrats to my brother @mattjames919 on being named the Bachelor," Tyler wrote on social media. "This is all a testament of who you are as a person. Now the world gets to see the person you are and the heart you have. You can change the world. Proud of you and so excited for you. Not excited that somebody will be taking my spot as your snuggle buddy. P.S. Peep the drool.”
When Will His Season Premiere?
TBD. ABC doesn't even have a premeire date for The Bachelorette yet, due to the coronavirus, so there's a good chance James' season will not premiere in January 2021, which is when most seasons of The Bachelor kick off.
What Does Everyone Else Think?
About time, right? We can't wait to see James in action. What about you folks?!?