First Black Bachelor Matt James showcases rekindled relationship with Rachael Kirkconnell after racism scandal
“At one point, I didn't recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn't excuse them,” said Kirkconnell
In March, Bachelor star Matt James swore off dating after it was revealed that his top choice, white contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, had a racist past. But now that the scandal has died down, he’s not only confirmed that they’re back together but has also posted the first new photo of them together.
“The gift of conversation lies less in displaying it ourselves than in drawing it out of others,” James wrote in caption accompany a picture of him watching Kirkconnell embrace a Black child. “Today we began a series focused on financial literacy (savings accounts, what is cryptocurrency, budgeting, etc.)”
“Our goal is (and always has been) to provide access to resources, individuals, & opportunities so that our students can make informed decisions for themselves and their families,” he concluded, before signing off with, “Feed. Educate. Connect”
The couple initially met during the historic 25th season of the ABC dating show, with James as the franchise’s first Black Bachelor, but called it quits after photos of the Kirkconnell attending an “Old South” antebellum plantation-themed party in 2018 resurfaced along with reports that the now 24-year-old had also liked social media posts featuring a Confederate flag.
Kirkconnell was a member of Kappa Alpha at Georgia College & State University, a group that embraces Confederate General Robert E. Lee as its “spiritual leader.” During its annual “Old South Week,” Kappa Alpha has been known to hold parties on former plantations and use Confederate flags as decorations.
In February, Kirkconnell released a statement, saying, “At one point, I didn’t recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn’t excuse them. My age or when it happened does not excuse anything. They are not ok or acceptable in any sense. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist.”
She said she is “learning and will continue to learn how to be an antiracist.”
Although James made it clear when they appeared on the “After the Final Rose” special that the pair were broken up, over the last several weeks there were rumors of a reunion.
And as theGrio previously reported, earlier this month the 29-year-old finally confirmed they were giving their love story another shot, explaining that Kirkconnell has been “doing the work” in educating herself about racism, but that it was something she would have to be asked about directly.
“A lot of what I’m focused on right now is the work that I’m doing in the community,” he said, “and with the [marathon] training.”
While speaking on the “Pomp” podcast, James said that things with Kirkconnell have “been great” so far and revealed he finally decided to rekindle their romance after receiving an ultimatum.
“She was like, ‘If you’re going to make this work, let’s do it. But, if you’re not going to make it work, I’m going to let you do your own thing,'” James recalled. “That’s really all I needed. It was an ultimatum that I needed.”
“It was honestly a commitment that we made to each other that we were going to work on the relationship,” he added. “There came a point in time where it was evident that my working on the relationship looked different than Rachael’s, because I wasn’t really honoring that commitment that I made to working on the relationship.”
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