- ABC announced Matt James as the first Black Bachelor of the franchise.
- The 28-year-old said that he is excited to take on the role as the first Black lead.
- The Bachelor season 25 is set to air in 2021.
Matt James is about to make Bachelor history in the 25th season of the American dating reality show.
On Friday ABC made the big announcement days after fans started a petition for the network to cast a Black lead and to diversify the show.
Matt's casting comes three years after Rachel Lindsay was cast as the first Black bachelorette. He is also the first bachelor in 12 years to be cast without appearing on The Bachelorette.
Here are 5 things you need to know about Matt
1. Who is Matt James?
The 28-year-old real estate broker, entrepreneur and community organisation founder is originally from North Carolina. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he played football at Wake Forest University and tried out for the NFL.
US Weekly reports that he got try-outs with the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints but didn't make the team. Before moving to New York, he worked at a bank in Pittsburgh.
2. Matt is well known in Bachelor Nation
Matt is best friends with Tyler Cameron contestant in the 15th season of The Bachelorette with Hannah Brown.
ET Online reports that the pair meet at university and were roommates in New York City and that Cameron's mother – who died earlier this year – nominated Matt for the show.
Together they run ABC Food Tours, a charity that offers children from underprivileged communities the opportunity to explore the city through food, exercise and mental and physical wellness.
3. He was initially cast in the 16th season of The Bachelorette
Matt was set to appear as a suitor in the upcoming season of The Bachelorette with Clare Crawley. The season was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The producers decided that he would be the perfect candidate for The Bachelor.
There seems to have been some pre-show beef between Clare and Matt.
Earlier this year Matt started raising funds for Covid-19 relief reports US Weekly. He did some interviews and appearances for his charity ABC Food Tours.
Clare tweeted: If you are doing interviews and creating Cameo accounts before you are even on my season, you are in it for the wrong reasons. Respect the opportunity you've been given. Respect the rules. Respect me."
Fans immediately assumed she was subtweeting Matt. She later clarified the tweets and said it was directed at multiple people.
SEE THE TWEET HERE:
You weren’t supposed to deduce babe, it was about MULTIPLE men and a general thought I was having while we sit here in a real life crisis where someone’s (everyone’s) time + sincerity hold so much weight and value. ????????— Clare Crawley (@Clare_Crawley) April 26, 2020
4. How he feels about being the first Black Bachelor
In an interview with Good Morning America on Friday, he said that it's an honour to be the first black Bachelor.
"I'm just going to lean into myself and how my mom raised me, and hopefully when people invite me into their homes on Monday nights, they're going to see that I'm not much different from them and they see that diverse love stories are beautiful."
5. What he is looking for in a woman
Matt told Good Morning America that he is looking for qualities in women that his mom embodies.
"Selfless, honest, caring, compassionate and those are qualities found in women all shape, sizes and races. It's not a black or white thing, so I'm hoping that when that limo puts up there is a lot of diversity, and I see every type of woman coming out of that limo", said Matt.
WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE: