So far, there had only been one black lead on "The Bachelor" or "The Bachelorette" in the shows' 40 seasons. Rachel Lindsay was the season 13 "Bachelorette" and just married her pick, Bryan Abasolo, last summer.
James is friends, roommates and business partners with "Bachelorette" runner-up Tyler Cameron from Hannah Brown's season, and was announced as a contestant on Clare Crawley's coronavirus pandemic postponed season of "The Bachelorette."
You can see some of his fun with Tyler and Hannah as part of @thequarantinecrew on TikTok.
"GMA" made the big announcement and interviewed the 28-year-old real estate broker and entrepreneur about his new role.
James is from Raleigh, North Carolina, originally and went to college at Wake Forest University. He majored in economics and played wide receiver for the school's football team. He even played football professionally before moving to New York City.
Crawley's search for love on "The Bachelorette" is set to air sometime in the fall, with "The Bachelor" airing afterwards early 2021.
"When filming (Crawley's season) couldn't move forward as planned, we were given the benefit of time to get to know Matt and all agreed he would make a perfect Bachelor," Karey Burke, president of ABC Entertainment, said in a statement.
James is active with charity in his community and founded ABC Food Tours, an organization that is designed to find creative ways to engage kids from underserved communities in New York City, encouraging physical and mental wellness, while also giving them opportunities for new experiences throughout the city.
Online, more than 75,000 people had signed a petition on Change.org demanding for representation and a set of actions to help combat racism.
Burke, the president of ABC Entertainment, said the network is committed to "continue to take action" in terms of bringing diversity into the franchise.
"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," she said in a statement. "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."