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Matt James hopes his 'Bachelor' season helps normalize non-White leads

Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Bachelor star Matt James hopes his season helps normalize non-White leads on the show.

The 29-year-old television personality discussed his distinction as the first Black Bachelor during Monday's episode of Good Morning America.

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James, who is biracial, was asked if he's embraced his label as the first Black Bachelor.

"Kenneth Chenault, he was the third African-American CEO of a Fortune 500 company. He was the CEO at American Express for over 15 years. He was a great CEO, and he just happened to be Black," James said. "Richard Handler, the longest-tenured CEO on Wall Street. He's the CEO at Jeffries. He happens to be White. They're both great CEOs and we don't highlight one or the other."

"I'm hoping that through this, it kind of normalizes what that looks like for me to be in this situation," he added. "Going forward, when someone steps into this light, they're going to be a great Bachelor. They might happen to be Asian, they might happen to be Black."

Unlike many Bachelor and Bachelorette stars, James did not appear in previous Bachelor Nation shows before becoming the new Bachelor. He said on GMA that he reached out to previous stars who found love through the franchise.

"As someone who's never been a part of something like that, there's going to be skepticism," James said. "They reassured me to just be myself and trust in the process and to be open and vulnerable, and that's what I did."

James is friends with Bachelorette alum Tyler Cameron and was initially to appear in Clare Crawley's season of The Bachelorette. James was named the new Bachelor in June following new dialogue about the franchise's lack of diversity.

"We know we have a responsibility to make sure the love stories we're seeing onscreen are representative of the world we live in, and we are proudly in service to our audience," ABC said at the time.

"This is just the beginning, and we will continue to take action with regard to diversity issues on this franchise. We feel so privileged to have Matt as our first Black Bachelor and we cannot wait to embark on this journey with him," the network added.

The Bachelor Season 25, starring James, will premiere Monday at 8 p.m. EST on ABC. ABC shared a trailer for the season in December that shows James searching for love.

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