The Bachelor, Bachelorette franchise has been a big hit for ABC since 2002 but this season it may have finally captured the attention of America’s African-American community. After 21 Bachelors and 12 Bachelorettes, ABC has finally chosen its first African-American lead: 31-year-old Attorney Rachel Lindsay.

Following the series formula, Lindsay is a promising contestant from this year’s season of the Bachelor where she made history when she was the first African-American contestant to receive the “first impression” rose. This is a rose presented on the first episode of each season, to the bachelor or bachelorette who makes the biggest impression on that seasons lead.

Lindsay made it to the top three in this year’s season with Bachelor Nick Viall, but before America saw her officially booted on air, she was announced as the next Bachelorette. Along the way, Lindsay captivated Bachelor Nation with her beauty, smile and wit. Obviously she skewed well enough to get the historic nod, which had been a source of contention for many African Americans since the franchise’s debut.

In 2012 two African-American men sued The Bachelor claiming racial discrimination, after they said they were not given serious consideration when they showed up to try out for the show’s lead. The lawsuit was dismissed a few months later, leaning on a ruling previously upheld in the entertainment industry, that the casting process and the resulting work of entertainment are protected under the First Amendment of Freedom of Speech.

Still, the ratings pressure was on, with the Twitter and other social media chatter, bemoaning the always quick departure of the sparse few African American contestants on the show. By all means, this season will be different, with more Black contestants expected to be among those selected to woo Lindsay’s heart.

“I obviously expect to see a wider pool of African-American men just because that’s me, but what I’m excited about is I’m hoping that my cast reflects what America looks like,” shared Lindsay. “I don’t {exclusively} date African-American men. I’ve dated all races before, and so I’m hoping the cast reflect what American looks like and I’m excited that my season is hopefully the one that has the opportunity to do that.”

Lindsay says the pressure is already on for her to select a Black man.

“Honestly, I don’t want to go into this process with any preconceived notions or any pressures to do something for somebody else. I hate to sound selfish, but it’s my process. It’s my journey in finding love, said Lindsay in an interview with People magazine. “Whether that person is Black, White, Red, whatever – it’s my journey. I’m not choosing a man for America, I’m choosing a man for me.”

About Rachel

Lindsay hails from Dallas, TX, and was raised in an upper middle-class family. She attended the University of Texas and earned an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology (the study of how the body moves) and Sports Management. She earned her Law degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. Her law firm Cooper and Scully in Dallas, TX, has been very supportive of her on TV search for love.

“I support the loyalty that they’ve given me. It’s very rare, especially in my profession, that you find people who are not just supportive of who you are as a person, but supportive of you finding love and your happiness.”

During The Bachelors hometown visits, America was introduced to Lindsay’s family. They met her mom Cathy, cousin Andrea, younger sister Heather, older sister Constance, brother-in-law (and Constance’s hubby) Alex, and her toddler nephew, Alistair. Missing from the show was her father Sam A. Lindsay, a federal judge since 1998. It will be interesting to see how the show deals with her father, since Judges are “strongly” encouraged to stay out of the limelight.

Even though he was missing from the hometown visit, Lindsay said her father is very supportive of her being the Bachelorette.

“He realizes what an amazing experience it is,” she said. “Seeing how I was portrayed on Nick’s season, I think it took away the skepticism that he had about the unknown.”

About the Contestants

The complete line-up of contestants for Lindsay’s season of The Bachelorette haven’t been announced yet, but America was treated to a sneak preview of four of the contestants during The Bachelor: After the Final Rose, which aired earlier this month. Chris Harrison, The Bachelor host, surprised Lindsay when he introduced her to four of her future suitors.

Two of the four contestants were African American, but one of the two White contestants awkwardly professed his commitment to “Once you go Black, you don’t go back.”

America met:

Demario Jackson, 30, Los Angeles, recruiting consultant for Michael Page

This brother showed up with tickets to Las Vegas and an engagement ring, so that he and Rachel can elope. He obviously made an impression.

Blake Elarbee, 31, Los Angeles, private personal trainer

Based on his profession, this hottee obviously has body, that even showed up from under the suit he was wearing. Although he seemed nervous, he got up enough nerves to cuddle up to Lindsay and pose for what he joked would be the first of many photos to come of the couple.

Dean Unglert, 26, Los Angeles (Aspen, CO native) recruiter for a technology recruiting company

Dean is the one who pledged, “once you go Black….”

Eric Bigger, 29, Los Angeles (Baltimore, MD native) motivational speaker and fitness enthusiast.

“What’s meant to be will be, and I’m looking forward to getting to know you,” he observed, before breaking into an onstage dance that hinted at just how different a season with a Black bachelorette and Black suitors might be.

While Lindsay didn’t confess to making an instant connection with any of the men, her own stage dance with contestant Eric showed potential for some true cultural flavor to show up in this year’s season. While we doubt there will be much resemblance to Flava Flava’s ghettoized Flava Of Love dating show from 2006, things might well get a little funky. At least, we’re sure that’s what Black America, and even ABC, hopes to finally see. “Honestly, it’s not going to be that different from any other season of The Bachelorette,” Lindsay told People. We can hardly wait to see. 

More About Rachel

Age: 31

Occupation: Attorney

Hometown: Dallas, TX

Height: 5’4″

If you could be someone else for just one day, who would it be and why? Michelle Obama. She’s everything!

Extras:

  • Lindsay is into getting fit and is an exercise enthusiast.
  • Her man must have a sense of humor.
  • I don’t need you to be Kevin Hart, but I need you to be funny.”

Also on her check list:

  • A man who can talk sports
  • A man who is confident Not cocky

Deal breakers:

  • Bad breath
  • Indecisiveness

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