Entertainment

ABC’s ‘The Bachelor’ Is Black

After 24 Seasons, The Bachelor has finally cast its first Black male lead.

Since the launch of its series in 2002, the ABC hit series has remained stagnant in its efforts to introduce diversity into its series and cast. Throughout its history, the series has remained overwhelmingly white. The franchise as a whole has featured numerous blondes and size 0 fitness models, men with tapered waists and also (again) blonde hair but has come up severely short when it comes to featuring people of color and different sizes. In its entire history, only one black person took the lead and that was in its sister spinoff, The Bachelorette. And that was three years ago.

But, at least for the time being, that’s changing.

For the first time in Bachelor history, fans will see their very first Black Bachelor.

Matt James is a 28-year-old real estate broker, entrepreneur, and community organizer who reportedly carved out a clear path as a favorite during his time on Clare Crawley’s currently delayed season of “The Bachelorette.” The decision to cast James as The Bachelor came heavy on the heels of protests against racism across the United States (which was sparked by the recent murders of police victims like Breonna Taylor and George Floyd) and demands for a change from leading programmers and production studios.

In a statement about the decision to cast James as the lead ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke explained that “Matt has been on our radar since February, when producers first approached him to join Bachelor Nation, as part of Clare’s season. When filming couldn’t move forward as planned, we were given the benefit of time to get to know Matt and all agreed he would make a perfect Bachelor.”

The statement concluded with an emphasis on the fact that James’s casting is meant to be “just the beginning, and we will continue to take action with regard to diversity issues on this franchise.”

According to Rachel Lindsay, The Bachelor Nation’s first Black lead, James’s casting could have come sooner.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CA6dpSyHy8p/

The lawyer and reality show favorite has been vocal since her time on the series about her lack of enthusiasm for the way the series has continued. After all, soon after her series was done it seemed ABC made little effort to bring more diversity to its series.

“I was hoping when I came on to be a trailblazer for that and to increase diversity in the audience that watches it. But in the last three years, there really haven’t been changes made,” Rachel explained in an interview soon after learning about James’s casting. “I want producers of color. I’d like for them to cast leads that are interested in dating outside of their race that aren’t just getting their first-time experience — for the first time — on national TV.”

Fans of Lindsay and the series were quick to echo her statements on Twitter.

Soon after her statements were made, fans created a petition on Change.org demanding that the franchise admits to promoting anti-racism on the show. So far the petition has accumulated over 93K signatures. The petition calls for

“ABC and Warner Bros. have been producing Bachelor content for 18 years, the petition reads on the Change.org website. “During that time they’ve cast 40 season leads, yet only one Black lead. This is unacceptable. As creators of one of the most popular and influential franchises on television, ABC and Warner Bros. have an opportunity and responsibility to feature Black, Indigenous, People of Color (“BIPOC”) relationships, families, and storylines. The franchise, and all those who represent it, should reflect and honor the racial diversity of our country–both in front of and behind the camera. Representation matters, and it is one of the most important ways our country can embrace its diversity and evolve.”

The petition goes on to call on ABC and Warner Bros. to take the following actions to combat racism and lists a number of actions points including: casting a Black bachelor as Season 25 lead, casting BIPOC for at least 35% of contestants each season moving forward, giving equitable screen time to BIPOC contestants, actively supporting BIPOC cast, including providing mental health resources specifically geared to helping them navigate the Bachelor franchise experience as BIPOC, ensuring equitably compensation and hiring more BIPOC employees in all parts of production, casting, and filming.

Here’s hoping the casting of James and the circulation of the petition spark real change within the walls of ABC and motivate its creators to align themselves with a message opposite of what they’ve been at the very least passively promoting for years: that Black people and other POC deserve love too.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

A Woman On TikTok Gave Her Followers Insight Into What It Feels Like To Be Paralyzed

Fierce

A Woman On TikTok Gave Her Followers Insight Into What It Feels Like To Be Paralyzed

Atsushi Tomura/Getty

In 2009, the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health reported that almost 5.4 million people in the United States live with paralysis. Still, despite how common this is, few people understand the condition of paralysis and how it affects a person’s daily life. Twenty-two-year-old Jessica Tawil, of New Jersey, recently set out to explain the experience on TikTok last year.

Since her first post in November, the TikToker has garnered over 1 million followers with content that focuses on her experience of being paralyzed from the waist down.

In a post shared on her TikTok page, Tawil explained an exercise that might give people a chance to understand the sensation of being paraplegic.

@jesstawil

#foryoupage #fyp #foryou #whatilearned #stemlife #needtoknow #weekendvibes #bekind #spinalcordinjury #productivity #disability #medical #paralyzed

♬ Epic Emotional – AShamaluevMusic

In a post shared on her TikTok page, Tawil shared an exercise with her followers that demonstrates how it feels to not be able to move a ligament. In this case, it’s your finger. According to Buzzfeed, Tawil came across the exercise after looking through posts related to disabilities. “I remember feeling so blown away because my legs felt the exact same way as my finger did,” she said.

“Not many people know too much about paraplegics and their capabilities, so I wanted to be that light to inform, educate, and even entertain people,” Tawil explained to BuzzFeed. “I want people to know what it’s like to be paralyzed … so that they can be a little bit more appreciative of what they have and remain humble.”

Tawil’s video demonstration currently has over 12 million views.

Tawil explained that a kidnapping and car accident led to her paralysis when she was in her teens.

Tawil explained that the accident took place on Nov. 15, 2014, when she went to a friend’s house in high school. When she arrived, Tawil discovered that men were present and instantly felt uncomfortable when she further learned that they had brought drugs and alcohol.

“When I eventually asked them to take me home, they took me to an abandoned road instead. When we got to this road, the driver stopped the car and put his foot on the gas and brake at the same time, doing a burnout with his wheels. He lost control of the car and crashed into a tree,” Tawil explained. “It was at this moment that I got whiplash, split my head open to the point where my skull was exposed, and sustained a spinal cord injury — leaving me paralyzed the moment we crashed,” she said. “Paramedics said that I lost the equivalence of a ‘Coca-Cola bottle of blood’ out of my head, and didn’t think I’d make it if they drove me to the hospital. So they drove me to a nearby soccer field where a helicopter airlifted me to the ICU. From there on, I went through seven months of rehab and remained permanently paralyzed and wheelchair-bound.”

Speaking about her injury, Tawil says she was “robbed of my ability to use the bathroom normally (I depend on catheters and enemas).”

Sadly Tawil says her experience led to her reclusiveness and weariness to trust others. Still, she finds that her disability comes with positives. “On the positive side, I have become a lot more spiritual and grateful to have been given another chance at life,” she told BuzzFeed. “My accident has emphasized the fact that we are not promised tomorrow, and that we should always be grateful for the simplest things in life… I also want to show people how I live my life in the present day — what is life like as a wheelchair user? — and devote my channel to being a blog where people can get to know me on a lot more of a personal level.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Black Class Is Back! Kamala Harris Wore Monochrome For Sonia Sotomayor Swearing-In Ceremony

Fierce

Black Class Is Back! Kamala Harris Wore Monochrome For Sonia Sotomayor Swearing-In Ceremony

ANDREW HARNIK / Getty

As of Wednesday morning, Kamala Harris is officially the 49th vice president of the United States. The historic moment, which saw Harris become the first American vice president to be of Black and South Asian descent is also notable because she is the first woman vice president to hold office. Sworn in on Inauguration Day by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and welcomed in by the bells of her alma mater Howard University, the day was packed full of color, power, and (for the first time in years!) class.

Check out the most poignant moments of the inauguration below.

Harris Wore An Inauguration Outfit By A Queer Black designer

Looking royal in an all-purple ensemble designed by queer black designer Christopher John Rogers Harris kept things simple and elegant in an A-line, deep violet coat, and a matching dress. The monochrome outfit has drawn comparisons to former First Lady Michelle Obama’s inauguration outfit and seemed to lead the way with other outfits worn that day by Jill Biden, Jennifer Lopez, and Michelle Obama. The bold look was more than just a fashion statement however, it was also a massive show of support of Black and Queer people.

Amanda Gorman delivered a poem that made her the youngest inauguration poet ever

Twenty-two-year-old Amanda Gorman became the youngest inaugural poet in history on Wednesday. Sharing her poem “The Hill We Climb” Gorman spoke to the world about rebuilding our future. “We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace … We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it,” she read. “Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy … So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left with … we’ll raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.”

Harris was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

In another historic moment, while becoming the first woman vice president and the first person of color to hold that office, Harris was sworn in on Inauguration Day by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Harris was nominated to her position by President Barack Obama in 2009 and became the first Latino member of the Court.

Howard University honored Harris with 49 bell tolls and the ‘Black national anthem’

Harris was escorted to the inauguration ceremony by the university’s marching band, the Showtime Marching Band.

“Throughout her career, the vice president-elect has carried her Howard education with her, ensuring that she adhere to truth and service and inspiring her to achieve unprecedented levels of excellence,” Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick said ahead of the ceremony. “It is perfectly fitting that the Showtime Marching Band, the ensemble that captures and reverberates the heartbeat of our institution, should accompany her on this last leg of her journey to the White House.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com