The Bachelor kicks off 2021 with much-needed good news. Matt James will make his debut on January 4 as the first Black Bachelor in the franchise’s two-decades-long history.
James was officially announced as the next lead June 12, 2020 on Good Morning America, where he gave a brief interview saying he thinks his casting is a “step in the right direction” for Bachelor Nation. The show has been criticized for a while now for its lack of diversity, but those conversations reached a fever pitch last summer in light of the Black Lives Matter protests happening around the country. Fans started a campaign, aptly titled the Bachelor Diversity Campaign, to advocate for more people of color on the show—both in front of and behind the camera. Naming the first Black Bachelor is certainly working toward the campaign’s goal.
Here’s everything you need to know about Matt James, the first Black Bachelor:
He’s a 29-year-old real estate broker, entrepreneur, and community organization founder. Originally from North Carolina, James attended Wake Forest University, studied economics, and played wide receiver on the football team. He played football professionally a bit before moving to New York City, where he now lives with…
Tyler Cameron! Yes, James and Cameron are best friends and roommates. Most of Bachelor Nation knows this, though. Fans were originally introduced to James as one of Cameron’s BFFs. James created ABC Food Tours—an organization Cameron is heavily involved with too—which is “designed to find creative ways to engage kids from underserved communities in New York City, encouraging physical and mental wellness, while also giving them opportunities for new experiences throughout the city,” according to a press release from ABC.
He was supposed to be a contestant on Clare Crawley’s season of The Bachelorette. At the time, Bachelor Nation was pretty stoked about James signing on. So, naturally, they’re really excited about him becoming the next full-on Bachelor.
Apparently, he’s already made history on the show.“Matt did something on night one that we’ve never had happen before…. It’s not what you think, though; it’s really crazy,” ABC exec Robert Mills said on Nick Viall’s podcast, according to Us Weekly. Um, we can’t wait.
He is very, very hot. Just look at his Instagram. In fact, do yourself a favor and follow Matt James now.