Matt James Opens Up About Pressures Of Being The First Black ‘Bachelor’
Matt James may be sure of his successes on “The Bachelor” as a candidate like any other, but his achievements extend beyond romantic endeavors. Since the show aired in 2002, there has not been a single black male bachelor involved in the program, that is until James joined the cast.
This significant moment in the reality show’s history is something that he addressed during a recent chat with Entertainment Tonight correspondent Lauren Zima after the new season first aired to viewers.
The Pressure Is On
On the pressures he felt being the first black man to take part in the show, James said he was hyper-aware of the significance his presence on it meant in the bigger picture.
“I felt a lot, I’m not going to lie,” he explained during their conversation. “But the more conversations I had with Chris [Harrison] — he helped me realize that I only speak for myself, and my experience was my own, and when someone has an opinion, whether they’re white or Black, that’s their opinion. It doesn’t mean that all Black or white people think that way.”
When it comes to representing himself as the first black “Bachelor” star, James says he believes he has done an effective job at conveying who he truly is, as well as the details of his upbringing to audiences.
“I think I did a great job representing how I was raised and where I come from and what I’m looking for, and I hope people see that too,” the reality star said of his efforts to showcase his true self through his role on the hit show.
The new season seemingly represents the most diverse casting “The Bachelor” has had in 18 years on the air, a feat that James shares enthusiasm for.
On the women he met during the season, his comments were limited to, “what I’m looking for isn’t specific to a race, and that’s why I was extremely excited about the group of women I saw. It represented everybody.”
Clearly, the program is working hard to offer a diverse cast and ensure that all ethnic groups are represented as new iterations are filmed.
James is the son of a black father and a white mother, and claimed that his biracial identity was a big part of who he was growing up.
Through the season he hopes to promote similar conversations to those he had with his family, “I think it’s important. It’s something everyone should talk about, because it’s what we’re experiencing,” he told Zima.
“And if you’re white, if you’re Black, our kids are going to look a certain way, and they’re going to go through what I’ve been through, so, I think it’s absolutely important and something that we talked about.”