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The Bachelor casts first black male lead Matt James The Bachelor casts first black male lead Matt James

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‘The Bachelor’ Is Finally Embracing Diversity as It Casts First Black Lead with Matt James – Rachel Lindsay, Peter Weber, and More React

Credit: The Bachelor/ ABC

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History was made today for The Bachelor nation. 

After 18 years and 40 season, the franchise cast its first black male lead. Matt James will look for love on the upcoming 25th season of The Bachelor, which will premiere sometime in 2021 considering the coronavirus pandemic shut down every TV show and film. 

But while it’s an exciting day as strides are being made in the right direction, we have to acknowledged that it took 18 years for the series to cast a black male lead. 

One has to wonder if the outcome would have been the same if not for the criticism of the franchise’s lack of racial diversity from cast members and the Bachelor Nation. These criticisms only intensified recently due to the protests and riots following George Floyd’s murder as people across the world rallied for racial equality and against injustice, systematic racism, and police brutality. 

ABC promised to do better, and it’s a promise we know Bachelor Nation will hold them to.

“We acknowledge our responsibility for the lack of representation of people of color on our franchise and pledge to make significant changes to address this issue moving forward. We are taking positive steps to expand diversity in our cast, in our staff, and most importantly, in the relationships that we show on television. We can and will do better to reflect the world around us and show all of its beautiful love stories,” the statement on the ABC press website wrote. 

But to even get to a point where ABC and The Bachelor felt compelled to do something, a fan-created petition calling for racial equality needed to gain more than 86,000 signatures on Change.org

Rachel Lindsay, the only black female lead on The Bachelorette, penned an emotional blog post calling out the network for the lack of diversity. 

“Recently, I have received many questions regarding the headlines stating that I will leave the Bachelor franchise if changes to address the lack of diversity in lead roles are not established,” she wrote. “Yes, more diverse contestants do appear on the show now, but is the lead truly interested and open to dating outside of their race? I think that is evident by how far their ‘journey’ takes them during each season.”

She suggested the series make some changes including casting leads who want to date those of other races, adding more diverse producers, and making contestants of color feel more welcome and “comfortable.”

ABC exec Rob Mills denied that Lindsay’s comments were the reason behind James’ casting and assured they were aware that a lot needed to be done.

“It wasn’t a response to that. We could have made this announcement earlier or later,” Rob told Variety. “Certainly no one is blind to what is happening in the world, so hopefully this announcement serves as a bit of optimism during a time that we can really use this, but I don’t want this to look like we’re patting ourselves on the back or taking a victory lap.”

After James was cast, Lindsay took to Twitter writing: “I am happy to see that a black man was cast after 18 years and 40 seasons. I believe it is a step in the right direction.”

She then went on to point out what many have been tiptoeing about: “I would be remiss to not point out that based on the current climate, it feels like a knee-jerk reaction and a result of societal pressure. This announcement, without any further commitments regarding diversity, sweepingly brushes deeper issues under the rug. Until we see action to address the systemic racism within the franchise, the casting news today is equivalent to the trend of posting a black box on your social media account without other steps taken to dismantle the systems of injustice. I look forward to hearing more about the additional efforts the franchise plans to make towards change.”

Former Bachelorette Hannah Brown, who is good friends with James, took to Instagram to express her excitement:

“Matt James is the Bachelor. I cannot contain my excitement for this amazing human making history as the first Black Bachelor — to God be the Glory! This man is as good as it gets y’all, and that’s coming from a previous skeptic (lolz). I am so blessed to now call you friend. You’ve supported and encouraged me in some of the hardest moments lately and I’m so freaking pumped to support and encourage you as you get ready to go on an adventure of a lifetime! #1 Matt James fan right here!”

https://www.instagram.com/p/CBVtwkmn1QA/

 

Former Bachelor Peter Weber poked fun at his indecisiveness on season 24 writing: Congrats @mattjames919. Very happy for you and @bachelorabc. “Enjoy the ride, just get it right the first time. It’s easier that way.

Mike Johnson, who was previously in talks to be the first black Bachelor, congratulated James in an Instagram video stating, I just wanna give a huge shout-out to Matt James as the new Bachelor. Congratulations, bro! I definitely [texted] him earlier, but I wanna show him love and shout him out publicly as well.”

He also commended the network and franchise for implementing change: “I wanna give also a huge shout-out to ABC. They listened to us. … I’m giving you guys a shout-out — the fans. Love you guys so much. They listened to you guys. You guys marched and, like, sent all these emails, I’m sure, and tagged Chris [Harrison] and tagged [creator] Mike Fleiss and tagged everybody that be, and they listened to you guys. [I] wanna say give yourself a pat on the back, seriously. That’s amazing. Your guys’ voices are definitely being heard.”

Tyler Cameron posted a photo with James writing: “Congrats to my brother @mattjames919 on being named the Bachelor. This is all a testament of who you are as a person. Now the world gets to see the person you are and the heart you have. You can change the world. Proud of you and so excited for you. Not excited that somebody will be taking my spot as your snuggle buddy.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/CBV1HQVDtJI/

James is 28, a current real estate broker, and a former football player.

Earlier this year, The Bachelorette announced Clare Crawley as the upcoming lead. She will be the oldest lead in franchise history. Her season was halted due to the pandemic, so it’s unclear when it will air. Host Chris Harrison said her season would address coronavirus. 


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Editorials

‘Riverdale’ Season 5: What Every Character Is Up to After the Seven-Year Time Jump

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Riverdale Killing Mr. Honey review

Riverdale will embrace a seven-year time jump a few episodes into Season 5!

The move is not only exciting for fans of The CW drama but also for the cast as it allows them to leave high school behind (and the Riverdale as we know it) and play with some more mature storylines for their characters.

Of course, fans have spent much of the hiatus wondering what this means for their favorite characters. Who will they be seven years from now? Where will their journeys take them?

A lot is still unknown, but the cast and crew have given some sneak peeks as to what we can expect! 

Here’s what we know so far: 

 

Archie Andrews

KJ Apa revealed the time jump gives the show a chance to “freshen up the characters,” according to TV Line. 

In fact, he revealed a lot more than he probably should have about the jump forward, which is great for us! 

Apa explained that after graduation, all of the characters went their separate ways. Archie enlisted in the Army and upon returning back home several years later, learned that Hiram Lodge has turned Riverdale into a bit of a ghost town. Leave it to Archie to leave town and return only to reignite his feud with Hiram. 

Archie calls in reinforcements — aka he brings the gang back together — to essentially save Riverdale.

“They talk about how they can revive the town again. Archie very much takes the lead on this. He came back and saw Riverdale turning to s–t pretty much, and he’s like, ‘There’s no way I’m going to let this happen.’ So he wrangles the whole team in, and they figure out ways to revive the town, and the best way to do that is through Riverdale High,” he explained.

Does this mean Archie becomes principal? A teacher? A coach? The possibilities here are endless!

Riverdale Brave New World

Riverdale — “Chapter Thirty-Five: Brave New World” — Image Number: RVD222b_0192.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Robin Givens as Sierra McCoy, Camila Mendes as Veronica, KJ Apa as Archie, Ashleigh Murray as Josie and Charles Melton as Reggie — Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW — © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Betty Cooper

Not much is known about Betty’s future life. Based on Riverdale Season 4, we know Betty will likely attend Yale University. It’s unclear what transpires between Betty and Jughead in the two episodes prior to the time-jump, but there’s a chance they break-up after finding out about her brief rendezvous with Archie. But what does a post-college life for Betty look like? We’ll have to wait for the series return to find out! 

Riverdale The Ides of March review

Credit: The CW/ Riverdale

Jughead Jones

Since Jughead’s escapades at Stonewall Prep, his chances of getting into Yale have been pretty much shot, so it’s unclear where he’s going to college, but word is he may attend the University of Iowa. This puts him on an entirely different path than Betty, which is fitting because if they do break up, I can see them going their separate ways anyway.

Maybe Jughead will focus on writing and be a published author by the time jump?

Cole Sprouse on Riverdale arrested during George Floyd protest

Credit: Riverdale/ The CW

Veronica Lodge

Veronica is a married woman in the time jump. Based on Riverdale Season 4, we know she was going to attend Barnard College in New York City, where she likely meets Chad Gekko, a Wall Street banker. But while that sounds super impressive and like the kind of guy Hiram Lodge would approve of, he’s not actually a great husband to Ronnie. He’s described as a “controlling and jealous alpha male.” 

“Chad is threatened by Veronica’s life in Riverdale, especially her friendship with Archie,” the official description adds.

So, is it safe to say that Ronnie and Archie will get back together when she returns to Riverdale?

Riverdale Witness for the Prosecution Review

Credit: Riverdale/ The CW

Cheryl Blossom and Toni Topaz

It’s not clear what happens between the Queen B’s of Riverdale High, but we do know that the writers have written in Vanessa Morgan’s real-life pregnancy into the storyline. Morgan made the reveal on her Instagram account shortly after wrapping up production and going on maternity leave. Is a #Choni baby on the way? Or did the duo go their separate ways and Toni is pregnant with someone else’s child? Both Cheryl and Toni were said to be attending Highsmith College in Riverdale, and since they are a fan-favorite ship, let’s hope they are one of the high school sweethearts that last! 

Vanessa Morgan says her pregnancy will be written into Riverdale. Is a #Choni Baby on the Way?

Credit: Riverdale/ The CW

Kevin Keller

We’ve actually seen Kevin five years in the future when he appeared on the short-lived spinoff, Katy Keene. When he visited Josie in New York on Katy Keene Season 1 Episode 10, we found out that Kevin was a drama teacher at Riverdale High, but he wasn’t entirely happy with his decision. There was definitely a ton of resentment towards the murderous town. 

Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa also gave fans a glimpse at the filming of the upcoming season on Instagram and revealed that flash-forward Kevin got “hella swole.”

Riverdale's Kevin Keller crossing over on Katy Keene

Credit: The CW/ Katy Keene/ Scott McDermott

Are you excited about all the storytelling opportunities that follow a time-jump? What do you think everyone is up to?!


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Editorials

9 Political TV Shows & Documentaries to Watch Ahead of Inauguration Day

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9 TV Shows to Watch on Election Day 2020

Inauguration day is upon us.

As the U.S. gets ready to swear in a new president, we suggest tapping into a political show to fully embrace the moment: 

Here are some of our favorites:

 

Scandal

Who could ever say no to the madness that ensues when Olivia Pope and her White Hat advise President Fitzgerald Grant?

 

Veep

It’s a comical yet punchy look at the White House, which finds Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the second-in-line to the Commander-in-Chief. 

 

Designated Survivor

Kiefer Sutherland’s Tom Kirkman, a lower-level cabinet member, suddenly finds himself the President after an attack on the night of the State of the Union kills the president and nearly all of the Cabinet. 

 

 

Knock Down the House

AOC, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortnerz, is among four Democratic hopefuls profiled in the documentary that highlights the race dubbed as one of the most “shocking political upsets in recent American history.”

 

The Final Year

The documentary filmed throughout 2016 follows Barack Obama and his team in his final term. 

 

The West Wing

Aaron Sorkin delivered a series about the inner workings of the White House that has inspired many political shows that followed. 

 

House of Cards

Prior to those Kevin Spacey allegations, the series was one of the most popular amongst households as it followed Congressman Frank Underwood. After he was fired, Robin Wright took the lead.

 

Madam Secretary

In this political drama, Elizabeth McCord, a former CIA operative and political science professor, runs the world as Secretary of State. 

 

The Handmaid’s Tale

Critics have draw parallels between the series, a dystopian drama about a futuristic America where a society controls women, and Donald Trump’s America. The series has also inspired many protests around the world, most recently the women’s movement against the abortion ban in Poland. 


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Editorials

5 Powerful Shows, Movies, and Documentaries to Watch to Learn About Racial Injustice

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Shows, Movies, and Documentaries to Watch About Racial Injustice

Guest post: Hiba Abdillahi

There’s a problem in our country. If you’ve been watching new news or checked in on social media, you have seen the murder of African American men at the hands of police (most recently, the tragic death of George Floyd while in police custody), racially-motivated encounters, and, as a result, protests, riots, and lootings that have spanned nationwide. 

The conversation about racial injustice, racial inequality, and systematic racism has never been louder or more charged up, and for those of you who may not know much about it or have never experienced it first hand, it’s a time to get educated.

The list of shows and documentaries that cover what it’s like to be black in America and capture institutionalized racism continues to multiply quickly as streaming services. 

But we’ve narrowed it down to a list of 5 shows, movies, and documentaries that can be a starting point for you and your family to help you understand how root of violence against black Americans and how it affects everyone. 

 

1. When They See Us (Netflix)

The jarring Netflix mini-series by Ava Duvernay is based on the story of the Central Park Five, a group of five black Latino boys failed by the justice system after they were wrongfully convinced of raping and assaulting a woman in Central Park in 1989.

 

2. 13th (Netflix)

How much do you know about the U.S prison boom? Once again filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores issues of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States in the Academy Award-nominated documentary.

 

3. I Am Not Your Negro (Youtube or Amazon Prime)

Sometimes we need to look back, to see how we can move forward. This documentary is based on an unfinished manuscript by James Baldwin and covers the history of racism in America, focusing on the stories of Civil Rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

4. Dear White People (Netflix)

We could all use some comic relief these days while educating ourselves, of course. This comedy-drama series on Netflix follows a group of black college students at an Ivy League (predominately white) college. The series covers plenty of racial topics young African-Americans face including cultural bias, social injustice, misguided activism, and slippery politics.

 

5. If Beale Street Could Talk (Hulu

It’s the story we’ve seen play out in our society time and time again. Based on the novel by James Baldwin, the 2018 drama focuses on a young black man imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit and a young back couple fighting for justice and the American dream.

 

Bonus: Just Mercy

Michael B. Jordan’s film follows the real-life story of defense attorney Bryan Stevenson, who fought to clear Walter McMillian (played by Jamie Foxx), wrongfully convicted of murder and placed on death row.

Warner Bros. announced it will be free on all digital streaming platforms during the month of June to teach people about systemic racism. 

 

 


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