“He’s such a good guy,” the source tells Us, noting he was well-known at Wake Forest University, where he played football from 2011 to 2014. “Everyone knew who Matt was at Wake. He’s honestly the sweetest.”
The 28-year-old North Carolina native made history earlier this month when ABC named him the first black Bachelor. While he was set to compete for Clare Crawley’s upcoming season of The Bachelorette, ABC announced on June 12 that he would be the season 25 lead instead. The decision came after Bachelor Nation called for more diversity on the series.
“When filming couldn’t move forward as planned [due to coronavirus], we were given the benefit of time to get to know Matt and all agreed he would make a perfect Bachelor,” ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke said in a statement. “This is just the beginning and we will continue to take action with regard to diversity issues on this franchise. We feel so privileged to have Matt as our first black Bachelor and we cannot wait to embark on this journey with him.”
James, for his part, called being the first black lead in the franchise an “honor” during an appearance on Good Morning America.
“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 nights, they’re going to see that I’m not much different from them,” he said. “They see that diverse love stories are beautiful.”
James’ season of The Bachelor is set to begin filming in the fall. It will likely air in January 2021.
“It’s not a black or white thing so I’m hoping that when that limo puts up there is a lot of diversity and I see every type of woman coming out of that limo,” the ABC food tours founder said on GMA.
For more on James’ watch the video above, listen to this week’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast and pick up the new issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now!
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