It took ABC’s The Bachelorette 13 seasons to tap its first-ever Black bachelorette and Rachel Lindsay said the series isn’t doing enough to break down its “systematic racism” and overall lack of diversity.
When Lindsay was hailed as the first and only Black bachelorette back in 2017, we all celebrated. But we also side-eyed the fact that it took so long, especially since the show began in 2002.
The reality star, who found love on the ABC series, marrying Bryan Abasolo, took to her blog to sound off about the show’s lack of diversity, writing that Black women interested in going on the program “know historically and presently that the show is not formatted for their success.”
“I knew that I wanted to be a trailblazer in this franchise to diversify the lead role, to diversify the contestants trying out and casted for the show, and to diversify the audience watching this show,” Lindsay continued. “Well, I am sad to say that after almost four years in this franchise, we still don’t have the diversity that this show needs and that our audience deserves.”
The Dallas native added that many of the show’s leads seem as though they don’t want to begin an interracial relationship on TV. Because of this, she wrote, “the sad reality is that people of color become placeholders as the token person of color to add some flavor to the second half of the season.”
The reality star didn’t slam the series without giving them advice on how to rectify their deep diversity problems.
Lindsay suggested The Bachelorette “stop making excuses for the lack of diversity.” She then wrote that producers should “cast leads that are truly interested in dating outside of their race” and then “diversify the producers on the show to make your contestants of color feel more comfortable.”
The attorney also said producers need to “stop creating problematic story lines for people of color.” She’s referencing when she called out the show in 2018 “for creating an emotionally charged finale that baited me for three hours and labeled me as an angry Black female,” she wrote.
ESSENCE reached out to ABC for comment, but didn’t hear back.
The reality star’s blog post comes on the heels of a new petition, calling for The Bachelor to cast its first-ever Black lead. With more than 71,000 signatures, the petition is supported by other Bachelor or Bachelorette leads, including Lindsay, Nick Viall and Kaitlyn Bristowe.