Matt James is our new Bachelor! The 28-year-old was announced as the first-ever black Bachelor on Good Morning Americaon Friday, after days of calls from fans -- and former BacheloretteRachel Lindsay for the franchise to diversify amid the Black Lives Matter movement.
In past years, the franchise casts a standout from a previous season as its next lead. But, the coronavirus pandemic has changed production’s entire structure this year. James was announced months ago as a contestant on Clare Crawley's upcoming season of The Bachelorette, but production on her season was halted in March due to coronavirus concerns before the two ever met.
Still, James is familiar to many in Bachelor Nation because he's best friends with Tyler Cameron, who starred on Hannah Brown's season of The Bachelorette. James has already racked up over 180,000 followers on Instagram after quarantining with Cameron and Brown months ago.
"When filming [Crawley's season] 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," Karey Burke, president of ABC Entertainment, said in a statement.
In addition to being the first black Bachelor, James is also the first Bachelor in 12 years to be cast without previously appearing on The Bachelorette. Though the franchise used to cast new men each season, they've since capitalized on the fandom created from previous cycles, with ABC execs saying the formula works for the franchise. Season 12's Matt Grant was the last man to be cast as Bachelor from outside the franchise, back in 2008.
So, until we get to know him on our TV screens, here's what to know about James.
He's Proud to Be the First Black Bachelor
"When Rachel [Lindsay] speaks, we listen. 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," James said on Good Morning America.