Matt James to Become First Black Lead on ABC's The Bachelor

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The Bachelor has chosen its first Black lead. 

ABC has announced that Matt James will make history on the 2021 season of the series. 

James was initially set to appear this summer on The Bachelorette as one of Claire Crawley's suitors before the series was halted by the Covid-19 shutdown. 

Matt James

His casting marks the first time in the show's 18 years on the air that it will be anchored by a Black lead. 

James is the second Black lead in the entire franchise, following Rachel Lindsay, who was The Bachelorette back in 2017. 

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The news was revealed on Good Morning America, and comes in the aftermath of Lindsay's comments about the franchise needing to do better to "acknowledge their systemic racism" in a blog post. 

A petition was also created urging the series to diversify. 

The next season is set to air in 2021 on ABC, but there's no telling whether it will return in January like previous seasons. 

The future of The Bachelorette, which was supposed to star Clare Crawley this summer, is still up in the air. 

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James is a 28-year-old real estate broker, entrepreneur and community organization founder.

The North Carolina native went to Wake Forest University, where he majored in Economics and played wide receiver for the football team.

He went on to play professional football, before moving to New York City, where he now resides.

Karey Burke, President, ABC Entertainment, said, “Matt has been on our radar since February, when producers first approached him to join Bachelor Nation, as part of Clare’s season."

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"When filming couldn’t move forward as planned, we were given the benefit of time to get to know Matt and all agreed he would make a perfect Bachelor."

"We know we have a responsibility to make sure the love stories we’re seeing onscreen are representative of the world we live in and we are proudly in service to our audience."

"This is just the beginning and we will continue to take action with regard to diversity issues on this franchise."

"We feel so privileged to have Matt as our first Black Bachelor and we cannot wait to embark on this journey with him.”

Remember you can watch The Bachelor online right here via TV Fanatic. 

What are your thoughts on this casting news?

Hit the comments below. 

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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