After 33 seasons of the hit series The Bachelor and The Bachelorette combined, America is getting a new lead in their franchise apart from what we’ve been used to seeing—the first African American Bachelorette. ABC executives for the show announced earlier this year that Rachel Lindsay, a 31 year old attorney from Dallas, will indeed be the one calling the shots and having her choice of men, the first for any person of color on the show.
But this is just reality TV, why should we care? We should care because our representation in the media matters. Did you see that Ikea commercial? To some it implies a negative stereotype of the single Black woman. Perhaps Rachel’s presence on the show will bring a refreshing perspective on our experience as single women in America.
Of all the demographics that would likely embrace this change in the reality TV dating genre, I believe that Black women will be tuned in more this season than others prior. From a Black Love angle, I want to watch the series. I want to personally see how the story is going to pan out for Rachel and how they (the show runners) will portray this young sistah and her potential suitors.
Will she have a quality selection of Black men or will she select a non-Black man as her love interest in the end? I low key want to suggest that it would be progressive to showcase a strong Black Love story pan out in reality television (I don’t have cable so give me another example if available, lbs). What words will be used to describe her compared to the other Bachelorettes in the past or will she be treated the same? I guess we’ll have to tune in to find out.
Here are a few reasons why having an African American Bachelorette would be a positive look for the Black female image in America:
Black women are multidimensional.
Now having a Black woman lead a dating show on TV is not a new concept. Sistahs have been in the forefront of popular culture, from our hair styles to our vocal inflection, and we’ve seen a limited view for some time. Rachel shows that Black women can be confident and not “too aggressive;” we can be smart and not just “sassy.” We can be Love and Hip Hop and we can also be The Bachelorette.
“My journey is just trying to find love and even though I’m an African American woman it’s no different from any other Bachelorette,” Rachel shared on Good Morning America. It’s the representation that we’ve been waiting for on a show of that level of public adoration and viewership.
Black femininity still exists.
Rachel Lindsay is going to be playing the queen of several men’s hearts and that requires them vying for her affections. She’ll be considered America’s sweetheart and in her own finesse and charm will show that Black women can be and have been soft, caring, gentle and feminine. We’ve seen a lot from the brothas about women needing to go back to femininity, and we’ll get to see a woman shine in her element as we are all capable of doing.
Despite the unconventional dating practices on this show, Lindsay is likely to show us what she has shown on this past season of The Bachelor: a balance of fun, wit and classiness. Black women can be strong and soft, and it’s important that we—and our men—don’t forget that.
Black women deserve to be loved.
We also deserved to be protected and respected. I’m curious to see how this will play out in the show’s season. And with the media portraying Black women in America at a disadvantage when it comes to love, despite our advancements in education and career, it’s a good thing to see us making the choice and getting chose.
Rachel has already made franchise history for being the first woman of color to receive the coveted “first impression” rose from this season’s bachelor, Nick Viall. She has a diverse cast of men on the show who will want to date her. Lindsay disclosed that her sister is in an interracial relationship and she dated Nick on the recent season of The Bachelor herself, so she’s open to love whatever it may look like.
As we have seen in popular culture from Scandal to Queen Sugar, Black women playing the lead and having diverse partners has become more common than years before. Although a larger percentage African American prefer to date and marry within their own race, it doesn’t mean we can’t at least look or try something new.
There are many who will rally behind Lindsay on her journey for love on national television as the new season of The Bachelorette premieres tonight, May 22nd on the ABC network.
Will you be tuning in to watch this season of The Bachelorette? Share in the comments below!