In what may be a surprise, or not a surprise, a television show centered on dating that first aired in 2002 has never cast a black male lead. That unfortunate streak is officially over. Matt James, a contestant on Clare Crawley's Bachelorette season, has been named the new Bachelor, the first time the long-running franchise has cast a Black man as its lead.
"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," ABC said.
The Bachelor franchise has faced years of criticism over a lack of diversity, when Rachel Lindsay was cast as Bachelorette in 2017 — the franchise's first-ever Black lead since it debuted in 2002, many thought the trend was over. After another few years of ignoring complaints from the fans, ABC has finally listened.
James played in 9 total games for Wake Forest, due to several injuries, and finished his career with 40 catches and 401 yards.
His season of the Bachelor will air sometime in 2021.