Matt James made his debut as The Bachelor back in January of 2021 when he starred in Season 25.
While he was supposed to be on Clare Crawley’s season of The Bachelorette at first, production was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead of keeping him on as a contest, the franchise reached out to Matt and asked him to instead be the next Bachelor. He was the first lead in years who hadn’t previously appeared on one of the franchise shows. At that time, he was great friends with Bachelorette alum Tyler Cameron, and the two were living together.
However, when Matt talked with production and accepted the gig as the next Bachelor, he had no idea he would be the first-ever Black Bachelor.
Matt James revealed in an interview that he didn’t know he was the first Black Bachelor
When interviewed by Us Weekly, Matt revealed, “I wasn’t really asking the right questions or, I guess, I didn’t think that was something that hadn’t been done. It’s 2022, I didn’t think that that was something that we hadn’t crossed yet.”
He went on to say, “I’ve seen a bunch of Black people come through the franchise that I guess I assumed [there had been a Black Bachelor].”
Once Matt found out that this was the case, he commented, “I didn’t accept the role to be the savior.” He discussed the fact that he just accepted the role because he wanted to find someone to spend his life with and fall in love with.
He then relayed, “And it wasn’t until after I accepted it that I really felt the weight of, you know, everyone’s expectations on my journey. And I’m like, ‘I wonder if anyone else has felt this stepping into a role like this.’”
Matt went on to say that, after thinking about it, there was no way someone else had felt what he felt with the country going through all of the racial discrimination and injustice it was at that time.
What does Matt talk about in his new book?
Matt also has a new book out called First Impressions: Off Screen Conversations with a Bachelor on Race, Family, and Forgiveness.
In this book, he talks about how life was after being on the show and how that was truly the hardest part of it all. Matt chose Rachael Kirkconnell as his final winner, but the two broke up due to some racially insensitive things that Rachael did back in college.
Matt discusses all of this in his book. He also stated that he is tired of talking about the issue and that he and Rachael have grown individually and together and have moved forward.
While Bachelor Nation fans were saddened by the couple’s break-up, and Rachael and Matt both received a great deal of criticism and backlash, it is evident how happy and in love the couple is now.
The Bachelorette premieres Monday, July 11, on ABC.