Matt James of the ‘Bachelor’ squashes rumors he doesn’t date Black women

'I don't understand why that's so hard for people to understand.'

Matt James is the first Black Bachelor in the ABC franchise and he’s catching heat about his dating preferences. 

During an appearance on Monday’s episode of the Talking It Out with Mike & Bryan podcast, James squashed speculation that he doesn’t date Black women. 

“People for some reason think I don’t like Black women,” he said. “The last women I’ve dated have all been Black women. I don’t understand why that’s so hard for people to understand. People should want you to be happy, regardless of if they’re white, they’re Black, they’re Asian, whatever.”

Read More: Tayshia Adams opens up about race on ‘The Bachelorette’

“I’ve dated all across the board,” the real estate broker continued.

“My dating life looks like what we saw on night one [of the show],” James explained. “Spanish women, white women, Asian women, Black women. Everything that I’ve ever dated and what I’m into isn’t race-specific, and when you’re looking for things that aren’t race-specific, you have to have a broad cast of characters to fill all those things, and thank goodness they had it, because it allowed me to enjoy the process the way that I did.”

The women in James’ life may be a rainbow of fun but savvy social media users have noted that most of the photos of him online show him #TurningUp (or getting cozy) with his rumored longtime boyfriend, model Tyler Cameron — who was the runner-up on Hannah Brown’s season of The Bachelorette, per PEOPLE.

Meanwhile, James’ casting on the hit dating competition series comes after Bachelor Nation called for more diversity in the franchise via a petition to executive producer Mike Fleiss. After 40 seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay has been the only other Black lead.

“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 in a statement last June. “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.”

Read More: Rachel Lindsay talks MTV’s ‘Ghosted’ season 2, growing diversity in Bachelor Nation

Speaking on the Talking It Out podcast, James dished about what he is looking for in his future wife.

“A down-to-earth, genuine person,” he said. “And that is ambiguous of what you look like. Because I’ve dated beautiful women — well, I would say I’ve dated people who I thought were beautiful, and then I’ve dated people who other people would be like, ‘You’re dating her?’ The people who they were kind of skeptical about were the best relationships I had because they were caring, they were compassionate, we respected each other.”

James added, “What I’m looking for is someone who I can spend my life with and the qualities I’m looking for have so little do with what you look like and so much more about where your heart is, and what type of person you are.”

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