Matt James' season of The Bachelor just started, but it's already a historic one. Back in June 2020, ABC announced he would be the 25th Bachelor, making him the first Black lead of Bachelor Nation's main series since it began in 2002. The 29-year-old got real about the significance of him stepping into the franchise spotlight right off the bat in Episode 1, and Matt James' quotes about race during his Bachelor premiere are seriously moving.
Before the limo entrances began, Matt had a heart-to-heart with series host Chris Harrison about navigating the Bachelor universe for the first time. As he expressed his fears and concerns about taking on the main role, Matt specifically mentioned "the pressure I have put on myself being the first Black Bachelor."
"People want you to end up with a certain type of person, and I get that," he said.
When Chris pressed him to elaborate, Matt explained: "My mom is white and my dad's Black. I experienced what it was like to be the product of an interracial marriage, and it's tough, because you've got people who have certain views — old school views — on what a relationship and what love looks like."
"You've got people who are cheering for you to find love, and then you've got people who are cheering for you to end up with a specific person of a specific race," he continued. "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! It's like, how do I please everybody?"
During his intro package, Matt explained that when he was growing up, coming from an interracial family "wasn't something that I thought isn't normal." However, he primarily grew up with his mom and older brother, John, after his parents split up when he was young. Matt explained to Chris that he's never truly been in love before, and it was his goal to find his future wife and be more vulnerable.
Luckily, he found that he was quickly able to lean on his new co-stars during his first night as Bachelor.
"What did give me peace was the women, and how well put-together they were, and how they maneuvered that night. It just gave me energy, and you see that carry on throughout the entire season," Matt told Elite Daily.
With 32 women vying for his heart, here's hoping that Matt gets through this rollercoaster of a season and finally finds his person, no matter who she ends up being.
Season 25 of The Bachelor continues on Monday, Jan. 11, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.