Source: Craig Sjodin / Getty
Matt James opened up about being the first African-American bachelor on ABC The single person. During an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Fair, where Arsenio Hall was the guest host, he spoke about the pressures he faced on the dating show.
“It was a lot,” he told Hall. “Both ways, because, you know, my dad is black and my mom is white.”
When asked by Hall if he felt any pressure to choose a black candidate, he replied, “One hundred percent. “
“There was pressure from both sides,” he added. “But eventually your heart takes you to where love is and that’s what I followed.”
In the end, James chose Rachael Kirkconnell, who then faced backlash for race-insensitive behavior. She was unmasked for attending a pre-war dance on a plantation, accused of intimidating her high school mates for liking black men and being a member of Kappa Alpha, a fraternity that called the Confederate General racist Robert E. Lee of “spiritual founder”.
They went their separate ways in March, but then reunited after Kirkconnell gave them an ultimatum.
“She was like, ‘If you want to make this work, let’s do it. But, if you’re not going to make it work, I’ll let you do your own thing, ”James said on The Pump Podcast. “That’s really all I needed. It was an ultimatum I needed. It was honestly a commitment we made to each other that we were going to work on the relationship, ”he added. “There came a time when it was obvious that my work on the relationship was different from Rachael’s, because I wasn’t really honoring the commitment I had made to work on the relationship.”
He told Hall that he and Kirkconnell were in a great place right now.
“We take it from day to day and we are very much in love and very happy right now.”