Rachel Lindsay Confirmed as ABC’s First Black Bachelorette

A historic announcement - for more reasons than one

Spoiler alert! On last night’s episode of The Bachelor, fan-favourite Rachel Lindsay became one of the final four women in contention for Nick Viall’s heart. And here’s the kicker — shortly after the show, Rachel appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, where Chris Harrison revealed (in like, “the most dramatic announcement in Bachelor history”) that she will be the next bachelorette.

Confused? We are too. Not because Rachel was cast as the next bachelorette (we predicted this weeks ago!), but because the mid-season announcement completely spoiled the most suspenseful show on television. The announcement isn’t a surprise, but the timing definitely is.

This isn’t just the first time in 33 seasons that the show will feature an African-American lead, it’s the first time the lead of the next season has been announced while the current season is still airing. So what’s up with the premature reveal? We can’t confirm yet, but here are a few ideas.

ABC could be getting in front of spoilers — Reality Steve leaked the news weeks ago that Rachel would star in her own series, and media was beginning to report the rumours. Or maybe, the added drama will have more viewers tuning into Nick’s season to watch the impending break-up between the bachelor and future bachelorette. The most likely reason would be to get a head start on promoting Rachel to the fans, but it could also be a casting call for a more diverse group of suitors.

The Bachelor has been criticized over and over for its lack of diversity, and that could be a red flag for people of colour considering joining the cast. In 2011, the franchise’s creator Mike Fleiss told Entertainment Weekly that the search for people of colour felt like “tokenism.” He said,“Oh, we have to wedge African-American chicks in there! We always want to cast for ethnic diversity, it’s just that for whatever reason, they don’t come forward. I wish they would.”

In her chat with Kimmel, Rachel made her own casting call. “If you know anybody out there who needs to apply, sign up, go ahead and get started!” she said.

Watch the rest of last night’s historic announcement below.