Rachel Lindsay wants more. Before Friday, the former Bachelorette remained the only black lead in Bachelor franchise history. Then, on Good Morning America, Matt James was announced as the next Bachelor -- the first black man to be cast in the role in its 18 years and 25 seasons.
The announcement came days after Lindsay said she would cut ties with the franchise if they didn't make real strides towards diversity and acknowledge their "systemic racism" in a statement. In an interview with ET on Tuesday, the attorney said she needed to see a person of color cast as the Bachelor for season 25 in order to stay.
"I think it's a step in the right direction. When Rachel speaks, we listen," James said on Good Morning America. "She has a very important voice in all this, being the first black woman, person of color to be a lead, and ... this is hopefully the first of many black men to be in the position I'm at now."
Lindsay also appeared on GMA to address James' historic casting. "I was hoping when I came on to be a trailblazer for that and to increase diversity in the audience that watches it. But in the last three years, there really haven't been changes made," Lindsay said.
"I want producers of color," she continued. "I'd like for them to cast leads that are interested in dating outside of their race that aren't just getting their first-time experience -- for the first time -- on national TV. I need the acknowledgment of that. Not putting a band-aid over the situation and just saying, 'Here, we're going to put this here. Are you happy now?'"
James, who is best friends with Tyler Cameron, was originally cast as a contestant on Clare Crawley's season of The Bachelorette. Production on Crawley's cycle was halted in March, just before she met her suitors at the mansion. Crawley seemed to shade James on social media in April, calling him out for having a Cameo account and accusing him for not joining the franchise for the right reasons. Fans quickly came to his defense, pointing out that proceeds from his Cameo were being donated to charity, and calling for him to be the next Bachelor.
While speaking with ET on Tuesday, Lindsay addressed fans' support for James as the next lead.
"Matt James, we don't even know you," she jokingly called out. "The only reason people are into Matt James is because people are into Tyler. We don't know anything about Matt James other than the fact that he's affiliated with Tyler."