Rachel Lindsay found love in 2017 as the first black Bachelorette in ABC’s long-running romantic reality show. But while filming an upcoming reunion special with host Chris Harrison and 11 other past Bachelorettes, the lawyer-turned-media personality expressed disappointment that the franchise hadn’t become more diverse in the seasons since.
“It was sad for me to look around the room and [see that] no one else looked like me,” said Lindsay, speaking exclusively with Us Weekly. “It was sad for me to be the sole representation for women of color.”
In fact, in 15 seasons of The Bachelorette, 14 of the 15 women chosen to find their fairytale ending have been white.
Granted, it’s only been two seasons since Lindsay’s appearance, but was it simply a “token of love”? A rep for ABC didn’t return Us Weekly’s requests for comment. The Root has reached out to the show’s team, as well. But Lindsay couldn’t have been too surprised that the show hasn’t gotten more colorful and doesn’t seem to place the blame solely on the franchise’s producers. Speaking with Us Weekly in 2018, she acknowledged that her season had gotten “significantly lower” ratings than others.
“I don’t think Bachelor Nation is ready for the diversity of a lead…an African-American lead,” she said. “I think there’ll be an [African American] man before there’ll be another woman.”
Bryan Abasolo, the former contestant due to wed Lindsay later this year, agreed. “I think there definitely needs to be more diversity on the show. Whether America is ready for it, that’s yet to be seen.”
“There was a lot of backlash in terms of race for her, and I think she handled herself with such grace and elegance and pride,” Abasolo continued. “I think she represented the African American community beautifully.”
Grace seems to remain the order of the day for Lindsay, who had nothing but kind things to say about the experience and her fellow Bachelorettes in her most recent interview.
“The best part for me was being in the midst of the women who paved the way for me to be The Bachelorette,” she said. “They started this ‘journey’ at a time when it wasn’t popular to be The Bachelorette. America was not as accepting to see a woman in this role the way they were accepting of men. Social media was not a factor in their decision to find love. These were women who were open to a new experience and open to love.”
The Bachelorette reunion special airs next Monday, May 6 on ABC.