Someone has been clicking around on the hashtags. A week after Matt James briefly halted his Bachelor premiere to have a frank conversation with host Chris Harrison about the “tough” position he’s in as the first Black bachelor, he has pushed back at the prevalent social-media discourse that followed his comments: No, he’s not just interested in pursuing white contestants. In a new interview with the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast, James, in response to a question from Rachel Lindsay about the conversation in question, said it was “low-key frustrating” that it became such a talking point. “First off, people should, regardless of what they look like, want you to be happy with whoever you’re with,” he explained. “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 noted that his Bachelor season contains a mix of white, Black, and Asian women, all of whom he has “dated across the board” in the past. He also believes Harrison facilitated a respectful conversation prior to the women’s arrival. “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,” James continued. “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.”
In the season premiere, James candidly told Harrison he was worried about viewers “who have certain views, old-school views, on what a relationship and what love looks like,” even if there are plenty of other people who are rooting for him to find true love. “And then you’ve got people who are cheering for you to end up with a specific person, a specific person of a specific race,” he explained at the time. “That’s something that kept me up at night. 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?” His mother, who appeared in the premiere, is white.
At present, 24 contestants are competing for James on The Bachelor.