“I can only speak on my experience and what I’ve been through. I am Black, but I’m also mixed. My mom’s white and my dad’s Black, so my experience isn’t going to be everyone else’s experience,” said the North Carolina native, who now lives in New York City.
“And I speak to that because I know that when people watch me, regardless of if I want to admit it or not, they’re going to look at me as, ‘Oh, that’s how Black people act,’ or, ‘That’s what a Black relationship looks like,’ or like, ‘Why did he do that? Do all Black people do that?’” Matt continued. “That was a big pressure that I put on myself when I first [began filming], because I just felt this responsibility that I’ve got to make everybody proud. But at the end of the day, all I can do is represent how I was raised and who I am. And I think I did that.”
The handsome real estate broker went on to tell Rachel and Becca that it was imperative to speak openly about race with the women vying for his heart.
“That conversation comes up a handful of times throughout the season, as it should, because it’s important and regardless of what you look like — if you’re Black, if you’re Asian, if you’re white, my goal is to get married,” he said. “And with marriage comes kids. And our kids are going to have some sort of pigmentation. So, it’s something that we need to cover because our kids are going to go through what I went through.”
He elaborated, “And it’s something that we need to address going into the relationship. It should be something that we’ve talked about throughout the course of our relationship.”
Matt’s landmark casting as the Bachelor came at a pivotal time in the U.S., when the Black Lives Matter movement was reignited in direct response to the murder of George Floyd and unceasing police brutality against people of color. A nationwide reckoning of systemic racism quickly followed, demanding change in arenas of all kind, from entertainment and fashion to media and politics.
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Matt took part in a Black Lives Matter protest last summer in Miami, Florida, and explained to Rachel and Becca why he felt compelled to get involved.
“People think that because my mom’s white that I don’t associate with being Black. And my experience has been as a Black man. My skin is Black,” he said. “I’m a Black man, so I thought it was important to let people know that that’s how I feel and that’s how I represent myself and I’m going to stand with my people with what they’re going through. It’s important to me.”
He added, “It was empowering. And it’s something that I’ll be able to tell my kids about and it’s something that I feel comfortable speaking about now because it’s a part of who I am. And I was a part of that process.”
Watch part of Matt’s “Bachelor Happy Hour” interview below — and don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts to hear more from Rachel and Becca.