Rachel Lindsay is pointing out a downside to Matt James' casting as the next Bachelor. The 35-year-old former Bachelorette appeared on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen on Wednesday and revealed that, though she's "excited that there's a black Bachelor," she "hated the timing" of his casting.
"It does seem like a reaction to what's happening in our country. Did a man have to die in such a public way, on a national stage, for you to say, 'Now is the time for us to have a black Bachelor'?" Lindsay explained, referencing George Floyd's death. "That's what I hate. It's taking away from this moment."
"What I wanted was some acknowledgment and some recognition that they've been wrong and part of the problem and they're going to vow to make the necessary changes to bring diversity internally and to more contestants of color on the show," she added.
"They told me that they heard me and that they're wanting to do more and make changes," she said. "And they actually did release a statement after they announced him saying that they've been on the wrong side of this and they're vowing to make changes internally and to have more contestants of color."
Prior to the announcement of James' casting, Lindsay broke down the potential contenders for who could be the show's first black Bachelor with ET's Lauren Zima. Of James, Lindsay joked, "Matt James, we don't even know you."
"The only reason people are into Matt James is because people are into Tyler," Lindsay added of James' best friend, Tyler Cameron, who appeared on Hannah Brown's season of The Bachelorette. "We don't know anything about Matt James other than the fact that he's affiliated with Tyler. So, I can't say I'm sold on him, because I know nothing about him."
"I'm going to lean into myself and how my mom raised me. And hopefully when people invite me into their homes Monday night, they see that I'm not different from them and that diverse love stories are beautiful," he said. "I think a lot of people are in that situation where they're uncomfortable dating outside their race … it's a conversation starter for a lot of people and hopefully it paves the way for a lot of diverse love stories."
"I think I am grounded... I have done [a lot of things] leading up to this point, making sure I am having constant conversations with my mom and people I am not going to be around for a while and that I love and respect," he added. "It just kind of put me into the right mindset to make sure that I am doing everything to make them proud."
Clare Crawley's season of The Bachelorette is expected to film later this summer, and will air in the fall. James' season of The Bachelor is expected to film after Crawley's and debut in 2021. See more on The Bachelor in the video below.