Matt James had no idea he was the first black ‘bachelor’ when he agreed to do the show

Matt James took a big step in reality TV history and didn’t even realize it.

On Season 25 of “The Bachelor,” James made history as the franchise’s first Black Bachelor.

According to James, he had no idea he was breaking ground for the long-running show, which first aired in 2002, when he accepted the role in June 2020.

“I guess I didn’t think it was something that hadn’t been done,” he said on Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast on Tuesday, referring to his achievement.

“I didn’t think it was something we hadn’t crossed yet. I’ve seen a bunch of black people go through the franchise. I assumed. I didn’t know,” James added.

The reality star was originally scheduled to appear on season 16 of “The Bachelorette” in 2020, but production was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

James was living in Florida with ‘Bachelorette’ alum Tyler Cameron when ABC hired him to direct ‘The Bachelor’ weeks after the season was temporarily postponed.

Matt James on “The Bachelor”. (Craig Sjodin via Getty Images)

Craig Sjodin via Getty Images

“At first I thought it was a prank because it was in the middle of COVID and I was living in a quarantine house with all my friends, and we were all messing around at the time,” said said James.

Shortly after deciding to be The Bachelor, he learned how groundbreaking the season had to be.

“I didn’t accept the role of being the savior,” James explained. “My only goal was to find someone I could spend the rest of my life with and fall in love with. I was looking for that in my life because I missed it.

He spoke of the pressure of feeling “the weight of everyone’s expectations on [the] journey” after saying yes to appearing in the historic season.

“I’m like, ‘I wonder if anyone else felt that coming into a role like this. And they didn’t because it was the right time in the country where we were going through everything that we were going through racially – [and] are still ongoing,” he said.

The star eventually reunited with his season’s winner, Rachael Kirkconnell, but the pair briefly split when controversial photos of Kirkconnell at a ‘pre-war plantation-themed’ party in 2018 surfaced in early 2021.

The leading man released a book called ‘First Impressions: Offscreen Conversations with a Bachelor on Race, Family and Forgiveness’ on Tuesday which hit bookstores, giving fans a glimpse into his life and experience. in the show.

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