Ex 'Bachelor' Producer Accuses The Franchise Of A Casting Policy That Excluded Black Women With Natural Hair

Matt James

Ex 'Bachelor' Producer Accuses The Franchise Of A Casting Policy That Excluded Black Women With Natural Hair

The ABC show just hired the first Black Bachelor after 24 seasons.

Published June 16th

ABC announced on June 12th that for the first time the popular reality series, "The Bachelor," has cast the show’s first Black lead.

Matt James sat down with Good Morning America to reveal the news. James is a portfolio manager, Air Force veteran, and former football player at Winston-Salem University, who appeared as a contestant in a previous season of "The Bachelorette."

Over 70,000 fans have signed a Change.org petition for "The Bachelor" to cast a Black lead for season 25. 

Rachel Lindsay, cast as The Bachelorette's first black female lead back in 2017, has criticized the show for its lack of diversity. “My biggest complaint is that the show does not reflect what the real world looks like. I would have women of all ages. I mean, there has to be a cut-off point, but I’d have women of different shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and ethnicities. I would change it completely,” Lindsay said in a recent blog post.

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🐸☕️ . . 📸: @brownbearvisuals

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Jazzy Collins a Black woman who was a Casting Producer on the two shows, starting with The Bachelorette season starring Lindsay, says that she is happy about James’ appointment but is also critical of the franchise’s diversity track record. Collins shared her experiences on the series where she felt black female contestants as well as black staffers like herself were being marginalized.

“Your show has white-washed for decades, inside and out,” Collins writes in an open letter to ABC and The Bachelor/The Bachelorette producing teams, according to Deadline. “The only Black women that were picked to be in the running had weaves or chemically straightened hair, were “ethnically ambiguous,” or were not considered if they were “too Black.” Women with afros, braids, locs, etc; weren’t even given a chance because of the white standards of beauty.

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@bachelorabc @abcnetwork @bacheloretteabc @bachelornation

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Following the announcement surrounding Matt’s new role, ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke and The Bachelor producers released a statement.

"We know we have a responsibility to make sure the love stories we're seeing onscreen are representative of the world we live in, and we are proudly in service to our audience," said ABC entertainment president Karey Burke in a statement. "This is just the beginning, and we will continue to take action with regard to diversity issues on this franchise."

It's a shame that it may have taken protests for Black Lives across America to finally get the show's attention.

Written by BET Staff

(Craig Sjodin via Getty Images)

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