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'The Bachelor' makes history with Matt James

"The Bachelor" makes history when Matt James takes center stage looking for love, as the 29-year-old is the first Black man to appear as the lead in the long-running show.

The former NFL prospect, originally from North Carolina, now lives in New York City.

James is friendly, frank, and candid when discussing the challenges he faced during a season of "The Bachelor" unlike any other.

"My mom is white and my dad is Black," he tells host Chris Harrison during the first episode. "I experienced what it is like to be the product of an interracial marriage, and it's tough."

"Burden" is not a word that's normally associated with the show, but in 18 years, the lead guy has never looked like James.

Trying to find love on TV in front of millions of people is never easy, and add COVID-19 restrictions and the degree of difficulty increases. James, however, took it all in stride.

"(Matt) is very cognizant of the fact he's the first Black Bachelor," Harrison said. "There's a lot of pressure, and we're going to talk about that on night one."

James is heard wondering how he can please everyone, and he says he found the answer to his own question.

"The answer is I can't, and the more comfortable I got with that, the more comfortable I got letting my walls down with these women," he said. "You know, I can't please everybody."

Trying to find love on TV in front of millions of people is never easy, and add COVID-19 restrictions, and the degree of difficulty increases. James, however, took it all in stride.

"To be honest, there weren't a lot of challenges because we were in a bubble," he said. "No one in, no one out, and we were being tested constantly. So it' the safest I've felt, you know."

Meet the cast of women for the 2021 season of "The Bachelor"

  • Abigail, 25, a client financial manager from Beaverton, OR

  • Alana, 26, a photographer from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  • Alicia, 24, a professional ballerina from New York City, NY

  • Amber, 30, a nursing student from Costa Mesa, CA

  • Anna, 24, a copywriter from Chicago, IL

  • Bri, 24, a communications manager from San Francisco, CA

  • Carolyn, 30, a journalist from Los Angeles, CA

  • Casandra, 25, a social worker from Newport Beach, CA

  • Chelsea, 28, a runway model from Brooklyn, NY

  • Corrinne, 22, a marketing manager from Pomfret, CT

  • Emani, 25, a realtor from Albuquerque, NM

  • Illeana, 25, a health food developer from New York City, NY

  • Jessenia, 27, a social media marketer from San Antonio, TX

  • Kaili, 26, a hostess from Chicago, IL

  • Katie, 29, a bank marketing manager from Renton, WA

  • Khaylah, 28, a healthcare advocate from Durham, NC

  • Kimberly, 28, an airline recruiter from Seattle, WA

  • Kit, 21, a socialite from New York City, NY

  • Kristin, 27, an attorney from Jersey City, NJ

  • Lauren, 29, a corporate attorney from Miami, FL

  • Magi, 32, a pharmacist from Adwa, Ethiopia

  • Mari, 24, a marketing director from Odenton, MD

  • Marylynn, 28, an event coordinator from Studio City, CA

  • MJ, 23, a hairstylist from Hudson, OH

  • Pieper, 23, a graduate student from Happy Valley, OR

  • Rachael, 24, a graphic designer from Cumming, GA

  • Saneh, 25, an IT consultant from Denver, CO.

  • Sarah, 24, a broadcast journalist from San Diego, CA

  • Serena C., 24, a flight attendant from San Francisco, CA

  • Serena P., 22, a publicist from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  • Sydney, 28, a marketing specialist from Nashville, TN

  • Victoria, 27, a queen from Los Angeles, CA

While James will meet 32 women at the start of the show, only 24 hopefuls will remain by the end of the first rose ceremony.

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