Bachelor Stars React To Matt James As The First Black Bachelor

After nearly two decades of being on the air, The Bachelor will finally have a black male lead. In June 2020, Matt James was named as the first black Bachelor. Rachel Lindsay became the first black lead in franchise history during her season of The Bachelorette, which aired in 2017. Rachel has called out the franchise for its lack of diversity for years now, even claiming she would stop working with the show if real changes weren't made.

When the most recent casting decision was announced, Rachel tweeted, "Congrats to Matt James. I am happy to see that a black man was cast after 18 years and 40 seasons. I believe it is a step in the right direction." While Rachel applauds this move, she questioned the timing in a follow-up tweet, writing, "I would be remiss to not point out that based on the current climate, it feels like a knee-jerk reaction and a result of societal pressure. This announcement, without any further commitments regarding diversity, sweepingly brushes deeper issues under the rug."

Rachel added, "Until we see action to address the systemic racism within the franchise, the casting news today is equivalent to the trend of posting a black box on your social media account without other steps taken to dismantle the systems of injustice." When it comes down to it, Rachel hopes casting Matt is one step in many toward changing the show, writing, "I look forward to hearing more about the additional efforts the franchise plans to make towards change."

Matt already has close friends in 'Bachelor' Nation rooting for him

Anyone who followed Tyler Cameron and Hannah Brown's quarantine content, or just Tyler's social media in general, knows he and Matt James are best friends and roomies. These two Bachelorette alums might be the most excited about Matt handing out roses. When the news was announced, Tyler wrote, "Congrats to my brother @mattjames919 on being named the Bachelor. This is all a testament of who you are as a person. Now the world gets to see the person you are and the heart you have." He concluded, "You can change the world. Proud of you and so excited for you."

Hannah posted, "Matt James is the Bachelor. I cannot contain my excitement for this amazing human making history as the first Black Bachelor" She promised, "This man is as good as it gets y'all, and that's coming from a previous skeptic (lolz). I am so blessed to now call you friend." Her skepticism is in response to Matt's well-documented shade toward Hannah when she didn't pick Tyler on her Bachelorette season. In July 2019, Refinery29 documented the many memes Matt posted about his BFF getting dumped.

She also referenced seemingly her recent controversy for singing the "N" word, writing, "You've supported and encouraged me in some of the hardest moments lately and I'm so freaking pumped to support and encourage you as you get ready to go on an adventure of a lifetime! #1 Matt James fan right here!"

Mike Johnson doesn't want 'Bachelor' fans to 'feel bad' that he didn't get chosen

When Matt James was announced as the first black Bachelor lead, some people wondered, "Why not Mike Johnson?" Mike was a fan-favorite during Hannah Brown's Bachelorette season who seemingly has so many Bachelor-esque qualities. Even so, Mike has been so supportive of Matt. In a June 2020 Instagram video, Mike said, "I just want to give a huge shoutout to Matt James... I definitely texted him earlier, but I want to show him love and shout him out publicly as well... They listened to us, I'm giving you guys a shoutout, the fans."

In case there's any lingering doubt, Mike told his supporters, "Don't feel bad for me at all. I am just so elated. I have so many things coming down the pipeline... Don't say nothing bad about my homie. Matt's going to do a great job."

Former Bachelor lead Nick Viall tweeted, "I just woke up and saw some amazing progress! Congrats @mattjames919!" He also re-posted a tweet from March 2020 where he referred to Matt as an "early favorite for next Bachelor." Nick's instincts were on point. Bachelor favorite Sean Lowe also tweeted, "Awesome! Looking forward to seeing a season without a recycled bachelor too." Kaitlyn Bristowe reacted, "Yes to this. I've heard he is such a great guy too."

Bachelor host Chris Harrison promised fans, "Today was one step forward. We will continue to do right and do better." 

The support from 'Bachelor' alums didn't stop there

Caila Quinn had a very personal response to Matt James getting the Bachelor gig, writing "As a daughter of biracial parents, watching cross-cultural/ diverse love unfold feels deeply personal and inclusive. (Just like @therachlindsay & @thebryanabasolo's season)." In her post, Caila shared photos from her time on the show, which was Ben Higgins' Bachelor season, telling her followers, "If you flip through these photos from my season, you'll see the representation 'before' and this fall I am looking forward to the representation 'after.' This is an incredible step forward for the Bachelor family and I hope everyone comes from a supportive and encouraging place hearing this news."

Bachelorette "winner" J.P. Rosenbaum addressed the criticism and the praise in response to casting Matt, tweeting, "This is great news!! Annoying that people will always find something to complain about. You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't. Regardless, [well] done @BachelorABC and good luck Matt!!" Bachelorette alum Jason Tartick tweeted, "This is fan-f*cking-tastic...congrats Matt!!" Seinne Fleming, from Arie Luyendyk Jr.'s season, told her Twitter followers, "We did it!!!"

Before appearing on any of the Bachelor shows, Matt has support from the franchise's biggest names. Even so, let's hope that casting Matt is one of many steps toward diversifying the franchise.