Matt James made national headlines when it was first announced that he was chosen to be the first Black male lead of the hit Bachelor franchise.
However, the impact he made on the show wasn't what he or his fans had hoped for going into the dating competition series.
In his brand new memoir, First Impressions: Off-Screen Conversations With a Bachelor on Race, Family, and Forgiveness, James opened up about his experience on The Bachelor, sharing that he was unhappy with how he was portrayed on the show.
James went more in-depth on this topic during a recent conversation with The Los Angeles Times, saying the franchise made him look like he "lacked substance" and "depth" by not showing the real him or the constant meaningful conversations he had about race or other serious issues on the show.
Matt James says 'key pieces of me were left behind'.
James’ Bachelor season was filled with the usual high jinks and high drama of finding a happily-ever-after the show has thrived on all of these years.
Though that was the picture that was painted for James’ season, he told The Los Angeles Times that that was a completely different narrative he was giving off as he searched for a wife.
“There was nothing to lay the framework — my background, who I was or why I’m here,” James recalled in the interview. “The show went straight into seeing these women doing crazy things. It was very frustrating to watch.”
James says the show lacked dialogue on important race issues in America.
While filming his Bachelor season, James had several meaningful conversations with the women vying for his heart about race and other serious issues.
However, those moments were edited out of the show’s final cut, which James found to be “frustrating.”
“I’m disappointed, not only for myself,” he told The Los Angeles Times. “Middle America could have benefited so much. So many lives could have been enriched, not only by my conversations with Rachael but with the other women who were on this journey.”
James wrote his memoir to repair the damage to his narrative.
While his season was airing on ABC in 2020, many Bachelor fans labeled James “bland” and “boring” due to producers failing to show him as an accomplished young Black man who had overcome many personal and professional challenges.
After watching his season back and realizing this, James decided to write his memoir and tell the world what his real experiences were as the first Black Bachelor of the franchise.
“I felt like I started writing the book during the show because I was tapping into those places in my past in real time,” he said. “I was addressing things that I had hidden in the darkest corners of my mind and my being that I’ve never wanted to address.”