James' stint as the show's first Black lead (and only the third Black lead in the entire franchise) was overshadowed by the resurfacing Rachael Kirkconnell’s controversial past which included attending an Antebellum-themed party in college and racially insensitive social media activity. Kirkconnell was called out by a TikTok user followed by the surfacing of incriminating photos of her and her friends.
Listen to Shadow and Act's new podcast, Opening Act.
Without an admission, James continued to date Kirkconnell. Once Kirkconnell admitted that the information set social media ablaze was true, James publicly broke up with her at the finale after refusing to comment on it prior to this.
This breakup was greeted with a grain of salt as James and Kirkconnell were still seeing each other. They were spotted together in New York and later in Los Angeles at a Dodgers game. They confirmed they were back together after this.
Now, those who are interested can now know why the pair gave their “love” another shot. In the latest episode of the Pomp podcast, James disclosed how the two reunited after such a tumultuous media debacle. According to James, Kirkconnell’s [privilege] gave him an “ultimatum."
"She was like, 'If you're going to make this work, let's do it. But, if you’re not going to make it work, I’m going to let you do your own thing,'" James recalled. "That’s really all I needed. It was an ultimatum that I needed. It’s been great."
"It was honestly a commitment that we made to each other that we were going to work on the relationship," James added. "There came a point in time where it was evident that my working on the relationship looked different than Rachael’s because I wasn’t really honoring that commitment that I made to working on the relationship."