After ABC announced Matt James as the first Black “Bachelor” in the popular series’ 18-year history, a debate quickly erupted on social media on whether the 29-year-old was going to pick a Black or White woman at the end of the show.
Some fans on social media were quick to assume James – who is biracial by way of a White mother – insinuated he wasn’t going to cave in to pressure by choosing a Black woman during an interview with host Chris Harrison on the first episode of the new show on January 4. It appears that got him feeling uncomfortable.
Addressing the divided opinions in an interview with former Bachelorettes, Rachel Lindsay and Becca Kufrin, on the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast, the real estate broker, entrepreneur and community organization founder admitted that topic was “low-key frustrating” and he did not understand why the race of the suitor he’s going to choose was such a big of a deal, Vulture reported.
“First off, people should, regardless of what they look like, want you to be happy with whoever you’re with,” he said. “And if you knew anything about me, if you were close to me, you would know that the last women that I dated were all Black women.”
James also revealed he has previously dated women from different races, and skin color is in no way a determining factor when he’s looking out for qualities in a lady.
“When you’re dating somebody, if you’re excluding a race, then I don’t even know where to begin on that. What I’m looking for in a woman isn’t race specific,” he said. “What I’m looking for may upset somebody. What I’m looking for isn’t a race. I don’t only exclusively date Black women. I don’t only exclusively date white women. I’ve dated all across the board, and I’ve found redeeming qualities in everybody, which is a blessing, and that’s why it’s so difficult for me throughout this season.”
James re-echoed those sentiments and dilemma during the January 4 interview with Harrison, citing his experiences as a “product of interracial marriage” and his worries about some viewers “who have certain views — old school views — on what a relationship and what love looks like” as juxtaposed to those who are comfortable with whomever he chooses, and the other viewers who are “cheering for you to end up with a specific person, a specific person of a specific race.”
“That’s something that kept me up at night,” he admitted. “It’s like, I don’t want to piss off Black people, I don’t want to piss off white people, but I’m both of those, you know what I mean? It’s like, how do I please everybody?”