After 25 seasons of more of the same, ABC has finally officially welcomed a black man to Bachelor Nation. Matt James, 29, a high-profile real estate broker, is the first black bachelor on the show, following almost 20 years of casting the same person over and over, and forcing producers to switch it up in order to reach a more inclusive, and wider, audience. Fans first fell in love with James as a possible selection for Clare Crawley's season of The Bachelorette before it was formally announced that he was going to be the lead of his own show's love story.
And honestly, the selection was damn near perfect, as the well-rounded hunk has us saying, in the Shakespearan words of Salt N' Pepa, "Whatta man, whatta man."
Because we love celebrating us at all avenues of who we are, we couldn't help ourselves in finding out a bit more about Matt James. And believe us, he's full of all-around versatility to make him the man of any woman's dreams.
So ladies, we did all the work for you. Whether you're rooting on him finding love, or are actually trying to scoop him yourself, here's all the tea on the newest, accomplished, multi-faceted, and BLACK, bachelor, Matt James.
Who Is Matt James?
Matt James is a former professional football player.
James, who is currently a real estate broker, entrepreneur and community organizer, attended Wake Forest for his undergrad, where he majored in economics and played wide receiver for the football team. He went on to play professional football, for the New Orleans Saints, before moving to New York, where he now resides. His Instagram is full of throwbacks as homage to his alma mater, where he often cheers, celebrates, and attends games.
Since, he has opted to use football as a platform to reach the youth (a current theme is his life).
"The mission is to use sports as a platform to activate human potential."
Matt James has never been in love.
Something that may shock fans of the show of love, is that James, has never actually ever experienced it before. The first trailer of the season shows a clip of James saying, "Cheers to falling in love," as he raises his glass of champagne while surrounded by female contestants, all dressed to the nines. "You've never been in love?" host Chris Harrison asks James, who responds, "I haven't." Harrison replies, "My job is to change that."
Because James has to remain tight-lipped on details of the show, in regards to never being in love, host Harrison tells US Weekly:
"It's not that he hasn't said 'I love you' before. I think the problem with him is he realized being the Bachelor, he had never fully understood what it means. He didn't understand the weight of it."
James does know, however, that he is hoping to find a woman who shares his values for the next step in his journey.
What Does Matt James Do For A Living?
Matt James has his own show and non-profit.
We love a philanthropic man, and James is definitely one. His love of food and passion for giving back led to his creation of ABC Food Tours, an organization designed to find creative ways to engage kids from under-served communities in New York, encouraging physical and mental wellness while also giving them opportunities for new experiences throughout the city.
*grabs pen, checks box*
Adventure is Matt James' thing.
In addition to football, James' social media is full of his adventurous heart. He skateboards, snowboards, rides horses, plays football, plays basketball, runs marathons, swims with sharks, and so much more.
His constant need for adventure is what keeps his 6'5'' frame in tact and ready for his closeup.
Matt James is not the first black lead in Bachelor Nation.
When it comes to black love interests getting their own show, the selects have been few and far between. Though Matt James is the first black Bachelor on the hit dating competition series, The Bachelor, it all began with the first black bachelorette in show history, Rachel Lindsay back in the ABC spinoff during its thirteenth season.
In her season of The Bachelorette, Lindsay went on to select contestant Bryan Abasolo. Unlike many of the show's winners and leads, Lindsay and Abasolo waited and had a longer more traditional engagement to get to know one another after the show before deciding to marry in 2019. The two are still currently married and enjoying bi-coastal wedded bliss.
Matt James wants you to know, that #blacklivesmatter.
James was born to parents Manny and Pat James on December 5, 1991. His father was black and is not often spoken about in interviews as he wasn't a part of James' life, while his mother is white and has raised him all his life as a single mom. He often speaks of her with love in interviews and has even been quoted to say she is his "inspiration".
James may be biracial, but that doesn't deter his need to align with a movement that speaks to his identity. His social media is filled with references to the Black Lives Matter movement. He believes in speaking out on any injustices that plagues the community and his diverse society around him.
In a caption, he wrote:
"'It's cool, his mom is white' or how bout 'Nah he's good, he's an athlete.' Do we have to lead with those things to be treated fairly? This is for everyone who isn't given the 'benefit of the doubt. It's Everybody vs Racism #BlackLivesMatter. Matthew 18:20'"
Is it hot in here?
The new season of The Bachelor is scheduled to premiere on January 4 at 8pm ET. Will you be tuning in?
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Feature image via Matt James/Instagram