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Riley Christian and Maurissa Gunn make history as the first Black couple to get engaged on Bachelor in Paradise

Riley Christian and Maurissa Gunn on the beach
Riley Christian and Maurissa Gunn have a historic engagement. Pic credit: ABC

Bachelor in Paradise Season 7 came to a historic end by showcasing the first-ever Black couple to get engaged in paradise. 

Riley Christian and Maurissa Gunn’s engagement made history and Bachelor Nation couldn’t be more thrilled that the couple managed to find love with one another on the island. 

Riley Christian and Maurissa Gunn get engaged 

Riley and Maurissa quickly became fan favorites amongst Bachelor in Paradise viewers, with many rooting for them to go the distance.

While together on the beach, Riley and Maurissa’s relationship was fairly drama-free and the two seemed to be both physically and mentally compatible. It was no surprise that their relationship quickly became exclusive and they decided to leave paradise engaged. 

Riley and Maurissa’s union is especially significant for the franchise because more and more viewers are calling for The Bachelor franchise to finally improve their handling of diversity and representation. 

With plenty of scandals and drama surrounding the show’s racial insensitivity, The Bachelor and its’ spinoff shows have been notorious for not being inclusive. 

The lack of diversity and proper representation has been called out by several stars within the franchise including the first Black Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay. In the past, Rachel has called for the franchise to cast more people who are genuinely open to exploring romantic connections with BIPOC contestants. 

Riley and Maurissa’s love and historic engagement are refreshing and a nice step in the right direction, but the franchise also has a long way to go in terms of fully reflecting the diversity of the real world and creating a space where BIPOC contestants are not treated as props but as fully developed human beings. 

While Riley and Maurissa were a success story, there were still issues with the way Black women contestants Deandra Kanu, Chelsea Vaughn, and especially Natasha Parker were treated on the island, with people like Brendan Morais making highly disparaging and disrespectful comments toward Natasha and Deandra’s ability to find love. 

Positive representation matters even in areas that are seemingly casual like reality television, and so it’s a powerful image to see Riley and Maurissa find love and happiness. 

Bachelor Nation celebrates Riley and Maurissa’s engagement 

Bachelor Nation adored seeing Riley and Maurissa’s heartfelt moments during the finale. 

Riley telling Maurissa that he sees Sunday Morning when he looks at her was a sentiment that particularly had Bachelor in Paradise viewers swooning. 

Many took to social media to express how happy they were for Riley and Maurissa and how meaningful their engagement is. 

A Bachelor in Paradise fan wrote, “When Black Love makes it all the way through the finale” with a crying emoji and a sweet photo of Riley proposing to Maurissa. 

Another person accurately summed up what many felt in their all-caps tweet, writing, “HISTORY (that was overdue) HAS BEEN MADE IN BACHELOR HISTORY. RILEY AND MAURISSA ARE THE FIRST BLACK COUPLE TO BE ENGAGED IN BACHELOR NATION. FINALLY” 

Riley and Maurissa are the first Black BIP couple to get engaged and hopefully they won’t be the last, as people from more diverse backgrounds take part in the franchise. Best wishes to Riley and Maurissa during this exciting next chapter of their life.

Bachelor in Paradise is currently on hiatus on ABC.  

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