Matt James Is the New Bachelor, But the Franchise Still Needs to Show They’re Actually Committed to Diversity

by Jeremy Spirogis
The next bachelor for season 25, Matt James

Many followers consider The Bachelor franchise has ignored its deeply rooted points with variety and race for the previous 18 years. But after a large wave of criticism — together with a petition with over 85,000 signatures asking ABC to handle the shortage of variety throughout the franchise — the community solid its first Black bachelor, Matt James. 

For essentially the most half, the fandom understands the problems throughout the franchise aren’t merely fastened with James’ casting as the brand new bachelor. There’s nonetheless loads of work to be carried out. So what’s going to The Bachelor franchise do to actively advocate for higher variety shifting ahead? 

Matt James is the brand new bachelor for season 25

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RELATED: Did ABC Choose Matt James because the Next ‘Bachelor’ For the ‘Right Reasons?’

On June 12, ABC introduced James as the following bachelor for season 25, which is anticipated to air in 2021. Then the 28-year-old actual property dealer and ABC Food Tours co-founder opened up about his new position when talking with Good Morning America.

“It’s an honor. I’m just going to lean into myself and how my mom raised me,” James stated.  “Hopefully, when people invite me into their homes on Monday night, they’re going to see that I’m not much different from them. And they see that diverse love stories are beautiful.”

James was additionally requested whether or not he believes his casting on The Bachelor franchise will result in lasting change, which is one thing The Bachelorette’s Rachel Lindsay has been advocating for years. 

“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” James stated. “When Rachel speaks, we listen. She has a very important voice in all this, being the first black woman, person of color, to have a lead. I think that we’re all filing suit in that conversation. And this is, hopefully, the first of many black men to be in the position that I’m in right now.”

The next bachelor for season 25, Matt James
Matt James of ‘The Bachelor’ | ABC/Craig Sjodin

He later added, “We can’t have change till we put that first foot ahead. And the primary foot ahead for The Bachelor franchise is having a black lead. So I’m excited to tackle that position.”

Meanwhile, when ABC made the announcement, the community’s president, Karey Burke, acknowledged the franchise must proceed pushing for higher variety.

“We know we have a responsibility to make sure the love stories we’re seeing on-screen are representative of the world we live in. And we are proudly in service to our audience,” Burke stated in a press release. “This is just the beginning, and we will continue to take action with regard to diversity issues on this franchise.”

Rachel Lindsay discusses actionable steps for ‘The Bachelor’ franchise to take to raised variety

RELATED: ‘The Bachelor’: How Rachel Lindsay Hopes Fans Can Spark Change Within the Franchise

The Bachelor franchise might have taken a single step in the best path. However, there’s nonetheless extra work forward. When talking with Good Morning America after the announcement, Lindsay shared what she desires to see from the franchise, past casting James as the primary Black bachelor. 

“I want producers of color,” Lindsay stated. “I would like for them to cast leads that are interested in dating outside of their race, aren’t just getting their experience for the first time on national TV.”

She continued, “I want the acknowledgment of that. Not placing a Band-Aid over the state of affairs and simply saying, ‘Here, we’re gonna put this right here, are you content now?’

Meanwhile, Lindsay spoke with The Ringer’s Bachelor Party podcast after James was named the brand new lead. Lindsay identified that whereas ABC acknowledged there was an issue, the underlying difficulty wasn’t addressed. And Lindsay puzzled how issues would change. She stated:

The entire level of calling them out was to say, ‘We don’t really feel valued, we don’t really feel heard, we don’t really feel included.’ You’re saying, ‘OK, well, here’s a Black particular person to step into this position.’ It’s nice to see it. Love to see it. But it doesn’t make me really feel as when you’re actually taking it into consideration after I say systemic racism. The inner, embedded, deep-rooted points inside this franchise. It wants to alter structurally. What are you going to do with that?

‘The Bachelor’ franchise claims they are going to do higher shifting ahead

RELATED: ‘The Bachelor’ Producer Claims Picking Matt James Wasn’t in Response to the Diversity Petition

When congratulating James on turning into the brand new bachelor in an Instagram post, Chris Harrison claimed The Bachelor franchise will “do better.”

“We can and we will do better to portray diverse love stories that reflect the world around us,” Harrison wrote. “This is just the beginning.”

Of course, this didn’t precisely clarify how the franchise deliberate to decide to variety. Then a number of hours later, Harrison launched a press release from The Bachelor govt producers. The assertion stated:

We are excited to maneuver ahead with each Matt James as the brand new bachelor and Clare Crawley as our subsequent bachelorette. We acknowledge our accountability for the shortage of illustration of individuals of colour on our franchise and pledge to make important adjustments to handle this difficulty shifting ahead. We are taking constructive steps to develop variety in our solid, in our employees, and most significantly, within the relationships that we present on tv. We can and can do higher to mirror the world round us and present all of its stunning love tales.

Many Bachelor Nation followers are excited for James. And now, there appears to be an initiative to “expand diversity,” from the solid to the behind-the-scenes employees. But even so, viewers are nonetheless ready see whether or not the franchise will actually act and face its points with race and variety longterm.

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