The Bachelor has a new leading man.
On Friday, the hit ABC series announced Matt James is the show' next star, making him the first Black male lead in the franchise's 18-year history after Rachel Lindsay became the first Black female lead as The Bachelorette in 2017.
"I think it's a step in the right direction," James said on Good Morning America of his history-making casting. "This is hopefully the first of many black men to be in the position that I'm in now."
The announcement comes days after a campaign was launched calling for diversity and anti-racism efforts within the Bachelor franchise.
In response to a question of whether this is "too little too late," James said, "We can't have change until you put that first foot forward and that first foot forward for the Bachelor franchise is having a Black lead, so I'm excited to take on that role."
As for the role he now has, the reality star, who was previously cast on Clare Crawley's since-postponed upcoming season of The Bachelorette, said, "It's an honor. I'm just going to lean into myself and how my mom raised me and hopefully when people invite me into their homes on Monday night, they're gonna see that I'm not much different from them and they see that diverse love stories are beautiful."
As the news broke on Friday morning, fellow Bachelor Nation figures took to social media to react to the announcement. As former Bachelor Nick Viall tweeted, "I just woke up and saw some amazing progress! Congrats @mattjames919!"
For more of your favorite Bachelor and Bachelorette stars' reactions, keep scrolling!
Tyler Cameron: "When something big happens, I'd probably go celebrate, drink a beer or something. This man Matt had me running stadium steps. You are out of your mind. Congrats, brother."
Hannah Brown: "What the heck?! Matt James is The Bachelor. I literally just woke up and I could not be more excited. Y'all should be so freaking excited because this is like the best human being in the entire world. Go ahead—start getting your '#1 Matt James Fan' T-shirts printed because I'm definitely gonna be wearing one. Y'all this is amazing. So proud of you, Matt James. What the crap?!." She later added in a statement on Instagram, "Matt James is the Bachelor. I cannot contain my excitement for this amazing human making history as the first Black Bachelor— to God be the Glory! This man is as good as it gets y'all, and that's coming from a previous skeptic (lolz). I am so blessed to now call you friend. You've supported and encouraged me in some of the hardest moments lately and I'm so freaking pumped to support and encourage you as you get ready to go on an adventure of a lifetime! #1 Matt James fan right here!"
Caila Quinn: "After 40 seasons of The Bachelor, today's news is a momentus [sic] step forward, as @MattJames919 was just announced as the first Black Bachelor! It makes me feel so proud to be a part of this Bachelor family that listens and stands up for representation. Literally just heard the news and want to shout it from the rooftops!! I want to applaud not only @bachelorabc for taking action, but also the hard work from @bachdiversity for getting 85,000 signatures that advocate for change. As a daughter of biracial parents, watching cross-cultural/ diverse love unfold feels deeply personal and inclusive. (Just like @therachlindsay & @thebryanabasolo's season) I have heard wonderful things about this handsome man of faith who is generous & kind - can't wait to cheer on his journey for love. If you flip through these photos from my season, you'll see the representation 'before' and this fall I am looking forward to the representation 'after.' This is an incredible step forward for the Bachelor family and I hope everyone comes from a supportive and encouraging place hearing this news."
J.P. Rosenbaum: "This is great news!! Annoying that people will always find something to complain about. You're d--ned if you do and you're d--ned if you don't. Regardless, we'll [sic] done @BachelorABCand good luck Matt!!"
Wells Adams: "This! Great move @BachelorABC! But also, I still wanna see Clare and Matt get into a fight night 1 about his Cameo account."
Ashley Spivey: "HOLY S--T."
Sean Lowe: "Awesome! Looking forward to seeing a season without a recycled bachelor too."
Peter Weber: "Congrats @mattjames919 Very happy for you and @bachelorabc! Enjoy the ride, just get it right the first time, it's easier that way."