Every show in the Bachelor franchise farms its cast from each other at this point, and with another season of The Bachelorette wrapping up, who amongst the losers will be the next lucky leading man? If you said, a mild-mannered white man from Philadelphia, you’re a winner!
That’s right, even after a notably diverse season of The Bachelorette with a black woman, Charity Lawson, as the lead—the fourth woman of color to be granted such an honor in 20 seasons—and with a slew of men to choose from, Joey Graziadei, a Philly tennis coach living in Hawaii, was tapped for season 28 of The Bachelor.
In 28 seasons there has been one black Bachelor, Matt James. James, better known as Bachelor Nation favorite Tyler Cameron’s best friend, was originally meant to be a contestant on Clare Crawley’s Bachelorette season, but when Covid stopped production there was some shade thrown back and forth between the two online, so he pulled out of the show before filming began. He was popular enough among fans, however, that he was still cast as the lead for season 25, but his ultimate engagement to Rachael Kirkconnell was marred when an old Instagram post of her at a “Plantation Party” was discovered. The former host of the franchise, Chris Harrison, defended Kirkconnell and was thusly canceled and pushed out.
Looks like it was all too much for the producers to take, so they went back to what they know: corn-fed white guys who love God and family.
For all my moaning about him, Graziadei, who was Lawson’s runner-up, was at least open to having vulnerable conversations with Lawson about dating as an interracial couple. These sorts of conversations are rare within the franchise, and the only way to make sure they continue is by casting dynamic leads, like Lawson, who are up to the task. But for some reason they’ve been much more successful at finding dynamic women of color than men, so maybe we’ll get some of those on Graziadei’s season and one of them will be cast as the next Bachelorette, and so on and so forth.
This is, unfortunately, the best we can hope for as long as casting is done from within. To seek out leads of various ethnicities or, furthermore, anyone who looks like they consume more than nuts and green juice, is apparently asking too much.