Matt James, who starting January 4, 2021 will star in the 25th season of the breakout hit reality show, The Bachelor. As the first Black Bachelor, all eyes are on Matt. But if you’re wondering who Matt James is, you’re not alone. Unlike previous Bachelors, James is not a fan favorite (yet!), nor had the season he was intended to star in even aired. James had originally been cast as a contestant on Clare Crawley’s Bachelorette season.
So who is Matt, really?
He is an athlete
James played football at Wake Forest University before a brief stint as a wide receiver in the NFL; he missed his shot with the Carolina Panthers and then was cut (twice) by the New Orleans Saints. He then moved to New York City. “I didn’t think I was going to make a career out of football, but I thought my stint in the NFL would be longer than a few months,” he said in an interview.
From looking at his instagram, the tall 6 ft. 5 in handsome guy also loves skateboarding, surfing, golfing and it looks like he’s just an all-around sports kind of guy.
He is an activist
When the reveal was made, the ABC Food Tours founder shared how blessed he is to become the first Black Bachelor — something that ABC had been asked about for years.
“I don’t think it’s ever the wrong time to do the right thing. We can’t have change until we put that first foot forward,” he said on Good Morning America on June 12. “I think a lot of people are in that situation where they’re uncomfortable dating outside their race. It’s a conversation starter for a lot of people. And hopefully again it paves the way for a lot of diverse love stories, because those are beautiful stories.”
This year, James took part in the Black Lives Matter protests sweeping the nation, and world. He opened up about his experiences with microaggressions in the Instagram caption: “’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.”
“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.” he quoted Maya Angelou on one of his posts
“We have a lot in the works for our students, the generation of justice.”
A year after moving to New York from Raleigh, NC, James started ABC Food Tours, a non-profit organization with a philanthropic mission. ABC Food Tours gives